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Maker(s):Denes, Agnes C.
Culture:American, born Budapest, Hungary (1931- )
Title:4000 years - "If the mind possesses universal validity – art reveals a universal truth. I want that truth."
Date Made:1976
Materials:Etching in two colors
Place Made:ULAE
Measurements:Housing: 36 in x 24 in; 91.4 cm x 61 cm; Sheet: 29 3/4 in x 21 3/4 in; 75.6 cm x 55.2 cm; Plate: 19 1/2 in x 17 11/16 in; 49.5 cm x 44.9 cm
Narrative Inscription:  SIGNATURE/DATE: front, lwr. r. (graphite): Agnes Denes '76; PRINTERS STAMP: front, lwr. l. (blind stamp, embossed): DkS [Donn Stewart]; TITLE/EDITION: front, lwr. l. (graphite): "4,000 Years" "If the mind..." T. P, 5/10
Accession Number:  UM 2020.1
Credit Line:Gift of Richard N. and Elaine Palmer
Museum Collection:  University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

A large pyramid shape, printed in a grid of fine lined Isosceles trianges, fills most of the printed field. The back ground of the printed area is pale pink which darkens at the edge of the plate mark. The triangle "blocks" are stacked top to bottom and bottom to top to form a pyramid shape. Within each triangle that points up, an Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol(s) is found. Each symbol is printed in a brownish-red ink and is raised or embossed. The Egyptian hieroglyphs are the artist's own translation of the print's title and her desire or statement.

Label Text:
In this work, I reach across the centuries into the heart of another civilization to explore the changes that have occurred in communication, language, and concepts through the ages. I chose Classical Middle Egyptian for its uniqueness and beauty and for its purity among all Egyptian heiroglyphic writing. During transliteration it became obvious that my statement was locked into my era as their expressions were locked into theirs. Most of my words either did not exist in their language or lacked connotations since attached to them.
Relying mainly on instinct and the creative process of selection and elimination, I chose words most closely resembling my meaning; often an entire sentence conveys a single, nonexistent modern word. Although the choice of expressions was mine, it was restricted by the style and idiosyncrasies of a vocabulary that had served another time and place. Evolution has transformed a philosophical affirmation born in the twentieth century into sheer poetry. - Agnes Denes, 1975

abstract; cartouches; communication; conceptual art; design; geometry; grids; languages; lines; shape; symmetry; time; typology

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