500 Failures

Probably the largest earthwork I've done in scale. Over the course of a year, 500 small balls were created, all by hand, mostly from cement, sand, marble and terracotta. These balls, (called "failures" in the sense of a work "failing"- falling inward, compressing and perfecting itself) were numbered from 1492 to 1992 and placed (in sequence) along and in several miles of a small stream running near the house. This stream ran into the Sieve River which, after passing through "Il Mugello", the birthplace of the Renaissance, flowed into the Arno River and then through Florence, allowing the objects to send messages into the heart of the Renaissance.

"500 Failures", 1992, 500 hand formed balls, 6cm-20cm each, cement, marble.
(Clicking on the image will enlarge it in a new JavaScript Popup window.)
A contour model showing placement on Monte Morello (detail)

After several winter seasons, many of the "failures" had been washed down the stream. Some were reported to have been found as far as 5 miles away. A number remained in the stream bed and I had the opportunity to return and photograph them in the summer of 1994.

"500 Failures" (2 years later):

Before the placement of "500 Failures" and when I had quite a number of them already made, I was invited to participate in a local art exhibition, "Arte della Comune di Vaglia", in Bivigliano. I decided to do a placement of 365 of the failures in a small room covered in a sandpainting map of the local area, "Il Mugello".

"365 Failures", balls of cement , marble and stone, sand and tinted sand. As realized for the exhibition "Arte della Comune di Vaglia", Bivigliano, FI Italy.
Miscellaneous Failures (Italy).
Limestone Failures done in Detroit at the end of 1992