Polish, b. 1979
Pars pro Toto, 2020
Museum purchase with funds from the Ann and Monroe Carell Jr. Foundation, Kathryn & David Brown, Edie & David Johnson, and Julie Carell Stadler
Based in Berlin, Alicja Kwade frequently draws on complex scientific and philosophical concepts to create work that challenges and changes perceptions of reality. In Pars pro Toto, she explores ideas of space and time through an arrangement of seven spheres, made of different types and colors of stone, ranging in size from 2 ½ feet to just over 5 feet in diameter. Simultaneously enigmatic and approachable, the smooth, glossy globes conjure a broad range of associations: planets, marbles, or billiard balls, which are sometimes used by physicists to illustrate the laws of quantum mechanics. Kwade sited Pars pro Toto in a specific arrangement along The Carell Trail, enabling viewers to walk through the individual orbs, which collectively evoke both weighty earthly matter and a shimmering interstellar galaxy. The title references the Latin phrase that translates to a part taken for, or representative of, the whole.
Each of the seven spheres comprising Pars pro Toto was extracted in its raw stone form from quarries in seven countries, on three continents. Stonemasons in Germany, following Kwade’s specifications, carefully sculpted the blocks into highly polished stone balls. The richly colored striations and crystallization visible in the layers of each stone function as a kind of geological clock or timescale, formed through sedimentation, or the process of matter being deposited and compressed over long periods of time.
63 in. – Carrara marble, quarried in Italy, 13,003 lbs.
59 5/6 in. – Fantasy Brown marble and quartzite, quarried in India/ China, 11,149 lbs.
51 1/5 in. – Halmstad granite, quarried in Sweden, 6,973 lbs.
43 1/3 in. – Rosa Portogallo marble, quarried in Portugal, 4,226 lbs.
39 2/5 in. – Masi quartzite, quarried in Norway, 3,175 lbs.
35 2/5 in. – Azul Macauba quartzite, quarried in Brazil, 2,315 lbs.
11 5/6 in. – Wondergrey marble, quarried in India, 86 lbs.