Depicting the Braille text for “Love,” this painting brings into focus the true meaning of the word. The painting appears here with white marks on a black ground with an off-center spot revealing a red blemish. The workʼs title, “Love is Blind,” is here disproved: Love in reality is all-seeing yet deeply accepting— recognizing the imperfections in others, and at the same time choosing to bear them joyfully. Here, the white spot is in the process of covering the imperfection of the red spot, demonstrating perfect love.
Canvas and Acrylic Paint; 60" x 84"
PRIME EXAMPLE OF NARCISSISM
In a field of prime numbers – represented here in colorful Braille dots on a dark landscape - Saiers has included the Braille text for his own name. Given the prime numbers’ centrality to math and human thought, the choice to include oneʼs own name is playfully narcissistic.
RIGHT OR WRONG
In Right or Wrong Saiers depicts the fall of Napoleon and return of the Bourbon's through words and mathematics. Events depicted include Bonaparte's defeat by the 6th and 7th Coaltitions and his exile at Elba. Even the theory that he died due to arsenic poisoning from the green paint (Scheele) in his St Helena prison are addressed in the piece. And the math points to the volatile nature of France during this period through the lens and experiences of an iconic mathematician named Augustin Louis Cauchy. One element in this piece is an original letter by Napoleon from 1807 trapped in a bourbon bottle. Conspicuously absent from the piece is the use of braille. To the left of where the painting is hung a wall space similar in size to the painting should be left blank.
ORIGINAL ART BASEL (MIAMI)
Original Art Basel (Miami) addresses the question of mathematical beauty by abstractly portraying the Basel Problem. Having withstood the assaults of the greatest mathematicians in the world for almost 100 years before Euler's solution, the Basel problem was both a very natural series to study and a difficult one. The solution to the Basel Problem, π^2/6, is spelled out in colorful braille-based abstraction (Euler went Blind in his 50s). The area of each circle represents the value of each of the first 13 terms of the infinite series defining the problem, i.e., the area of the circles approximates the braille number they spell out. The notes scribbled throughout the piece are all relevant to the problem, and its generalization, the Zeta function (an extremely important mathematical function).
COUNTEREXAMPLE IN 3D
1936 was interesting for theoretical maps but absolutely awful for the real map. The piece spells "vil" in braille. And the white E in front references an equation related to the proof of the 4 color map problem: Euler' s revolutionary polyhedron formula. 1936 was an awful year for the real map (ie our world). Germany seized back the Rhineland and made alliances with Japan and Italy. Italy conquered Ethiopia, the Spanish Civil War started and others. In math there were 1936 "interesting" configurations which were important to the proof of the iconic 4 color map problem (theoretical maps). Picasso makes cameos and its for more than just Guernica ("did you do this"). The partially revealed partially braille word evil points to the world's "blindness" to the full extent of the evil in Germany, Japan, Italy etc. The childlike nature of the work points to several ideas: First while some ethics questions are hard. Even a child should understand the evil inherent to genocide. Secondly, while very difficult to prove the 4 Color Theorem was easy to state and understand even for a child.
DID YOU DO THIS
Nelson Saiers: Did You Do This
GENOCIDE IS EVIL
This piece is an homage to the mathematician Georg Alexander Pick, who is best known for his formula that determines the area of a lattice polygon. The central form in this piece is a polygonal shape created by connecting the dots that spell “Genocide is Evil” in braille. The simplicity of the form, and the choice of bold and primary colors used to fill the dots, suggests the innocence expected of childhood, as well as the moral and ethical obviousness of genocideʼs evil: Even a child knows when evil is at play. The underpinning of moral absolutism in this picture is an even more somber ode to Pick, who was tragically killed in the Holocaust.
Canvas and Acrylic Paint; 36" x 36"
ODE TO KANDINSKY NO 4
“Ode to Kandinsky No. 4” focuses on the revolutionary painter, Wasily Kandisnky, He was known to "use" the sounds of music to produce art. Some theorize due to his suffering from synesthesia. It is well known that music and math have been interrelated since the time of Pythagoras. In Saiers Ode to Kandinsky no 4 the main driver behind the composition is not music but the mathematics on which western music "is based". This "Kandinsky-like" composition also incorporates an idea around the famous Russians composition no. 4.
SHIP OF THESEUS
High quality signed and numbered lithographs are available on this piece.
Ship of Theseus is a playful yet sinister work commenting on the state of the inflated international art market, which is both volatile and – like any bubble – a fragile ecosystem that must be treated delicately to survive. Here, a translucent bubble optically encases a quote by Isaac Newton written in Braille: “I can calculate the movement of the stars, but not the madness of men." (uttered after losing a fortune on the South Seas Bubble burst). The colorful braille marks resemble spots on Damien Hirst's paintings.
Dots that match the Braille in the bubble form a pictorial Ship of Theseus, which precariously floats atop the bubble itself – threatening to collapse it at any moment. Its ominous presence brings into question the impermanence of all art, but especially of the current market environment, where art’s monetary value is hiked almost daily past unprecedented levels. More presciently, this work questions the definition of original art, recalling again the mimicked permanence of Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, in which a shark is suspended in formaldehyde: In reality, the shark deteriorated even within the tank intended to preserve it, and had to be replaced. If indeed the market is a bloated mass, then its greatest threat may be the refute of originality.
Metal; 48" x 48"
"Nothing" contrasts its namesake with deep mathematical substance. Playing on the idea that the number 0 is nothing, the piece presents one of the most beautiful results in all of math (that 0=e^pi • i + 1) in abstraction as a counterpoint. Hence nothing is actually represented by a profound image.
In 2overcome the vertices of the simple shapes are positioned to spell words in braille. If braille marks were placed on these corners the word "overcome" would appear twice.The revolutionary formula 2 = v+f-e applies to each of these shapes as it does to all convex polyhedron-like forms. The simplicity of the formula belies it's universality and its importance. The words and the use of braile becomes more personal when reminded its author Leonhard Euler overcame eye problems, even blindness, to become one of the greatest mathematicians ever.
Finally, hidden in mathematical abstraction the painting hints at a deeply personal experience from Saiers childhood living in Afghanistan as the Russians invaded.