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Mikado LDB Modulor
Lieven De Boeck
Nov 8, 2013 - Dec 7, 2013

Taking advantage of the excellent research by CIRVA, the International Centre for Research into Glass and Plastic Arts in Marseille, Lieven De Boeck (born 1971) has made this Mikado game, which uses 22 coloured sticks of various shades.

With Mikado LDB Modulor, he is continuing his research on reference standard measurements. In its title, the work also contains a reference to the "Modulor" concept put forward by Le Corbusier in the '40s. He considered that the ideal height for a human being for a harmonious existence in an architectural environment was 183 cm. De Boeck uses the principle of ideal height as the cornerstone of his thinking, but corrupts it somewhat by adopting his own height (176 cm) as the benchmark. For his calculations, Le Corbusier obviously based his idea on the metre (100 cm) as a universal standard, a measurement that in De Boeck's case becomes 96.17 cm (176:1.83). Several works were born of this conversion, but in the case of Mikado LDB Modulor, the artist added reference data that makes the reading of the work even denser, by converting these dimensions into the Anglo-Saxon imperial system of measurements. The markings in red letters on the sticks are therefore in LDB inches, LDB feet or LDB yards.

One of the artist's ideas is, on the one hand, to emphasize the vastness of the world or the universe (that Man tries to grasp by measuring it for example from the micrometre to the light-year) and on the other hand, by suggesting that we measure this world based on what is intimate to us (how else to measure it than with our own eyes, our hands,…). In a sense, De Boeck draws a parallel with old-fashioned measurements which referred to the human body : foot, cubit, etc. All these standards sometimes seem absurd even if they do have a historic explanation. Evoking the notion of standards, it is pertinent to ask how the artist decided how many sticks to make. Being keen to use a mathematical reference, he adopted the beginning of the mathematical sequence revealed in 1202 by Leonardo da Pisa, also known as Fibonacci.

Despite the rigour of the sources of inspiration, we can feel a lot of humour in this work. Moreover, here we are seeing the tradition of sculpture on the ground, the joy of playing games, the idea of chance, fragility and skill.