Magnhild Øen Nordahl


Spray painted 10mm aluminum sheets

567x150x127 cm

SEKSAGESIMAL was made in the occasion of the exhibition NN-A, NN-A,NN-A at the Astrup Museum in 2015 in what the museum described as a survey of abstraction amongst contemporary artists in Norway of that present moment.

The sculpture does not spring out of an interest in formalist abstraction as much as it does in an interest of conceptual abstraction - in how we translate the phenomena that we experience into abstract and disembodied concepts, and then how these concepts again are put back into the material world.

The sexagesimal numeral system that we use in our daily lives to measure time and space is such an abstraction; we split up the day in 24 hours spread across 15 degrees slots on a globe with a circumference of 360 degrees. Anthropological theories suggest that the sexagesimal numeral system developed through counting with the thumb one one hand pointing to the joints of the other fingers- three on each times four, then keeping track of how many twelves were counted by raising fingers on the other hand. Theories also suggest that one of the reasons why this numeral system has not been replaced by the decimal numeral system is precisely because it has so many factor numbers which makes it practical to do calculations with and therefor deal with in everyday life.

The sexagesimal numeral system with 60 as its base has the factor numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6,10,12,15,20,30 and 60, and the the aluminum panels lean against the wall and have diagonal painted fields with angles corresponding to these. The composition developed through trying out different ways of materializing or giving a body to the numeral system, a process similar to that which the exhibition goer can have when moving through space past the piece; They see the angles in the sculpture from constantly shifting perspectives, accentuating how the body’s situatedness shapes the perception of our surroundings.