Metropolis, by David Partridge


The chief archivist thanks the artist Erika Takacs for directing him to this image of a sculptural mural called Metropolis, by David Partridge.

One cannot speculate as to any connections to Heliopoli; concepts of shared and concurrent dreams; affiliations to past, present or future; overlapping zeitgeists; or origins of any kind. It would be unfair to engage in reinterpretive mind dances. When we look at art, we extract meanings and correlations that relate directly to ourselves. We look in mirrors. We will note that it was a winning submission in an art competition in 1974, and leave it at that.

But it is a map.

According to the Web site from which the image comes, the artist “regards his sculpture as a symbolic interpretation of a great metropolis, but not of any city in particular.” It was created from more than 100,000 common nails. “The centre core is a circle of massed copper nails which indicate the heart of the city.”

The artist had to build his city one nail at a time. And why nails? Well, how many people comprise a city? How many books, buildings, streets, hopes, words, shoes, laughs, loves, and tears does one city make? One nail at a time …

Regardless of its origin or inspiration, it is a beautiful, meditative piece that the chief archivist is convinced he could spend a full hour just sitting in front of. And if it is not a map of a specific place, it is certainly a map toward a place.

Toward what? Now that is something one can speculate on ….