Chauncey Flay’s One Million Marks, is a fascinating and uncompromising project, that began with the question ‘What is infinity?’ and eventuated into a process of making one million marks from stone pigment. For the project, Chauncey collected, sculpted and polished 100 stones from across the South Island and transformed each stone into a small sculpture. Using the slurry from each stone, he then created a natural pigment, from which he produced (by hand) one million painted marks.
Each of the 100 stone sculptures comes with a book containing 10,000 marks – made from the unique stone pigment – collectively cataloguing the total number of marks made: one million! One Million Marks is a conceptually strong and obsessive body of work that, amongst other things, speaks to how we might value labour in the art making process. The project was the subject of a recent stuff article and has been generously reviewed by Don Abbott in the new edition (Winter 2023) of Art New Zealand – who mentioned:
“One Million Marks is a remarkable record of a million gestures. There is a performative component to all sculpture, but with OMM the artwork is the proof of the performance, its uniformity and orderliness belying the physical and mental strain that was endured during its facture. In the gallery it stands for a year’s work; it is simultaneously the end product of an unimaginable superhuman effort, and a ring-fenced distillation of 12 months’ toil, quite accessible and relatable.. an astounding work of art.”
Foenander Galleries exhibiting 35 of the 100 stones – which all speak to their provenance of both place and time – each shaped, crafted into form and sold with a bound book of individual marks. There is limestone from the earthquake damaged Chch Cathedral, and stones donated by fellow stone workers and artists including: Joe Sheehan, Ann Robinson, Tai Meuli and the late sculptor, John Edgar.