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EAU / AIR = O / R = Or – Nyon 1995 – Union of Swiss Banks Building
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Beyond the consciousness of the necessary values, assets and profit, of economy and exchange of goods, represented here by the banking institution, there is another one, essential but buried, of the awareness of the fundamental values indispensable for the conservation of life on our planet.
It is in a parallel between those two 'materialisms' that this intervention finds its purpose:
a responsible management of the one leads to a better preservation of the other.
Water and air are the fundamental elements of life on Earth but they also are the most directly threatened by ill-controlled human activities.
Both are represented by the evocation of their presence on site.
Water: with the existing fountain located outside the building.
Disused and deprived of its hydraulic system, it became an occasional litter bin and consequently had its basin filled with concrete.
Air: with the thermal air screen created across the door giving access to the building's main space.
At that time, Aldus' studio was on the island located in the middle of the river Rhône, in the centre of Geneva,.
A way to describe 'waste' is, in English, to 'throw money down the drain'. In French it is 'jeter l'argent par la fenêtre' (to throw money out of the window).
From its window, a handful of coins was thrown into the water, creating numerous circular ripples.
It is the image of their shapes, cast in a new coat of concrete in the fountain, that evokes the presence of water.
Above the visitors' heads, 'air' is made visible by the movements given by the air screen to a square of ultra-light fabric suspended between the columns.
Inside, on the wall facing the entrance, are inscribed the words 'EAU ' and 'Air' and the letters 'O' and 'R'. In French, the two words and the two letters produce, phonetically, the same sound and create, in juxtaposition, the word 'OR' (gold).
Beside the moving 'sail', the response to this wall is the image of the ripples engraved in the concrete, still malleable by the presence of water in its composition. Evaporation (air) gives it its solidity. Water (rain, dew... ), for a while, stays imprisoned in the grooves. It reflects, as a filigree, the image of the sky then evaporates, rejoining the reflected image. 'Water' (eau) meets 'Air', 'O' meets 'R'.
In a strange alchemy, 'water, and 'air', fundamental values of life, lead to 'gold', symbol of both materialistic values and ultimate aim of the philosopher's spiritual quest.