Please or Register to create posts and topics.

The Fountain

Museum Link:

Source Link:

Date Minted: June 22, 2020

Artist Description: Like all my other pieces, this one describes something that I experienced in my life. Without revealing intimate details, I can say it's about things or feelings that start full of joy, colors, beauty and excitement, and with time deteriorates, fade away, and eventually die. This is about life after all. I also wanted to make it a tribute to Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon cover.

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

The ability of an accomplished software engineer is on full display, is fully admirable, is as impressive as a long-time professional’s should be, in Number41’s The Fountain, a piece which pleases, impresses, and mollifies with its incredible attention to detail, its stark use of color contrast, its A1 technical construction. You see this piece and feel inherently the talent behind it. Too much detail, too much specificity and ingenuity to ignore it.  Number41 has been a “CG artist, programmer, engineer for 23 years,” according to their Superrare profile, and what that means in practice is an oeuvre filled with the exploration of textures, with shapes moving, colors changing, liquids and particles sloshing around, all presented to us with incredible precision, with almost childlike curiosity. Number41’s pieces are a marriage between artist and machine, not necessarily generative, but the consequence of computer-engineering putting into practice the motion-heavy ideas in Number41’s mind. The Fountain, Number41’s Genesis piece on Superrare, is an all-encompassing taste of what will expand throughout the artist’s works. It is a statement of purpose, in a way, a declaration of interest in color, shape, evolution…and of course, Pink Floyd. 

The overt Pink Floyd homage is not just welcome, in my opinion, but vital. Remember, this is a Genesis piece, and as the first item in their oeuvre, it immediately characterizes Number41 as an artist who is not above playfulness, who is not trapped in the prison of their own pride. It portrays the artist as an adept creative. The Dark Side of the Moon symbol, the black triangle spraying a rainbow from its right side, is instantly recognizable and iconic, and while Number41 essentially presents it without comment, the artist uses it essentially as a springboard for a larger conversation about “things or feelings that start full of joy, colors, beauty and excitement, and with time deteriorates, fade away, and eventually die,” and does so not by taking anything away from the symbol, not by sapping it of its recognizability, but bestowing upon it a new layer of meaning, some 50-ish years after its inception. Number41 could have used any number of less-meaningful symbols to portray this theme, to explore the physical landscape they’ve created, but by using Pink Floyd’s most famous icon, we feel closer (or I do) to the artist. Because it’s art that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Because it’s art that can reach out and touch worlds beyond that which it resides in. Because it forces us to see this piece not as an independent entity from on-high, but as the product of a human person’s mind, the product of their likes, their interests, that which has meaning to them. It’s not that we are forced to see the so-called artist’s hand, but that we get to see it; a hand which pulls back from hubris and reaches towards interpersonal connection. 

A deluge of rainbow color spurts like a fire-hydrant flow from the side of the pyramid prism, shooting outwards until the colors hit an invisible, spherical wall. As the liquid does, it adheres in greater and greater amount to the side of the invisible sphere, cascading down its walls and forming a pool of color underneath its progenating prism. But the magnificent color, as it pools, turns slowly black, more and more of it, until the pyramid, spinning now counterclockwise, sits not above rainbow waves, but above a dark, brooding, black puddle of sludge. As the pyramid comes back to face us, completing its rotation, the rainbow spout runs out of “juice,” the colors it once erupted with having also turned black, the geyser turned into a trickle of thick, black bile. Finally, the pyramid stops spinning, the liquid below it ceases to wave and ripple and roil, and the black triangle sits above a viscous half-moon of shadow-water. To once again quote Number41’s Artist Description, The Fountain is “about things or feelings that start full of joy, colors, beauty and excitement, and with time deteriorates, fade away, and eventually die. This is about life after all.” 

It’s hard not to feel the deep melancholy Number41 has succeeded, I think, in expressing here. The inevitable change of everything bright and forceful and enlivened to something static, monochromatic, still, off-putting. Even the Pink Floyd symbol itself, by the looping piece’s final frame, seems to be a depressed, unwhole version of itself, sapped of the inevitable elements which first made it recognizable, which first made it joyful, which first attracted us to this piece. It eventually eliminates all of itself: no more color, no more texture, no more movement. Number41 has completed the process of killing their own creation, of taking their “canvas” and setting it alight. It portrays, by its end, none of the attractive qualities it did at its outset.

And yet, it does not become unattractive. It seems to become a repository, by its culmination, of things we miss, of things we remember, of the promise it once had. The image itself cannot forget the color it once spat forth without reservation, as if that color would be endless, and indeed, for our past selves, when we were observers with no clarity on where the piece is going, why would we not believe the same? The Fountain’s eventual decay into its own kind of “death” is a surprise, and it’s sudden, and it’s deliberately disruptive to our experience. Number41 is savvy, and allows the dead image, all black and all still and all sad, to hang there lengthily. The piece does not begin its loop again until forcing us to contemplate its final position.

And when it starts again, as it must, as it always will, as it has no choice but to, we are watching it not with the excited anticipation of the new and unknowing, but with the weight of those who understand. We can enjoy the colors, the movement, the flow with a fresh, wizened eye; because we know the thing is impermanent. Because Number41 has shown us that all fountains cease to flow eventually. 

You are not allowed to do this. Please login and connect your wallet to your account.