Author: Rainald Schumacher --- Date: 11/7/95--- Copyright: ThingReviews NYC

James Lee Byars
The Monument to Language, and The Diamond Floor
Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris
Sept. 29 - Dec.10

If you walk down boulevard Raspail and take a look to the Fondation Cartier from the opposite side you see it through two layers of glass. The first layer separates the garden and building from the outside world. The second layer separates the space of the building from the garden. Inside you see surrounded by the thousands of reflections "The Monument to Language," a sphere, three meters in diameter, of gold-plated bronze. All the experiments and dreams of alchemists have succeeded. What were they looking for? To find some experimental structure to transform something into gold. So what to think of this monument? Does language transforms the world into a golden globe? Is this the alchemist's recipe to take all the facts of the universe and to transform them through the structure of language into something very valuable? Without language, would there be no world? Isn't this the deep belief of every idealistic philosophy? But how elegant you start to doubt. If you look around from inside the building through the glass you see the natural garden, looking like no human being has ever touched it. So what does James Lee Byars mean? Yes, there is language able to transform the world into a well structured form, but it's at the same time a dead golden sphere. Ready to be transformed again, after all, when the sun will explode in some billions of years.

-Rainald Schumacher

Email to:

To post a response fill out the following form and click the "Submit" button. Or go back...
Your Comments:

Scroll down to read responses.

Jirka Votruba --

Hi I am desperately trying to find out the address for the Cartier foundation. Would it be possible please to send me the address on my e-mail address. thanks a lot Jirka Votruba

Andrea Byars -- ABYARS @IQUEST

Today's date 6-8-97, Just found out that James died. He is my father's first cousin. I did not know him, but thought it interesting to have an artist in the family because I am currently studying photography in Indiana at BAll State. I would appreciate any information you could e-mail me about my cousin. I have never seen any of the work he has done. I hear from my dad he had cancer and did incorporate that into his art. Any information would be very appreciated. Thank you, Andrea Byars.