Everywhere Stillness Yet Ceaseless Activity
October 18, 2023
In 1930, the German painter and naturalist Else Bostelmann descended into the depths of the ocean to record sea life on a small engraver’s plate. About the experience she said, ‘I had descended into a fairyland, six fathoms below the surface, everywhere absolute stillness — yet ceaseless activity.’
It comes as no surprise that Richard Erdman’s marble forms are imbued with the same contrasting qualities of the deep, as the creation of marble began in the greatest depths of the sea.
Imagine a sea teeming with life, billions of organisms with skeletons and shells made of lime/calcite–plants, plankton, sea lilies, star fish, snails, coral reefs-their future is to become marble. Over time, layers of these dead organisms accumulate on the sea floor, eventually petrifying into limestone.
Millions of years following, the seabed thrusts up becoming part of the land. Tectonic plates collide and form mountains. Under this enormous pressure and temperature, those compressed limestone creatures undergo another metamorphosis: the limestone dissolves, becomes liquid, and morphs into large, translucent crystals, the otherworldly glow of marble.
All of that time, energy, and enduring drive to evolve is inherently part of Richard’s work; it is the marble. And the abstract forms carved from it are yet another iteration of this ongoing, eternal metamorphosis. They contain the thrilling tension and mysterious ‘feeling’ of being in the presence of something paradoxical: they exude stillness while simultaneously ceasing with activity. Echoes from the deep past.