The Four Elements
Artist Xavier Cortada created “The Four Elements” for his public art commission at the Frost Art Museum. The works are “digital tapestries” and titled after the Greek classical elements: aqua, aer, ignis and terra. In Greek philosophy, science, and medicine these four elements represent “the realms of the cosmos wherein all things exist and whereof all things consist.” In the present day, we know that water, air, fire and earth are actually composed of the molecules made from elements found in the Periodic Table. But science continues to push the boundaries of our understanding to the point of near-constant change. This work aims to conceptualize this change through aesthetic means, prompting the viewer to contemplate their acceptance of the continued, and exponential, evolution found throughout all facets of life.
The four 40 foot tall works are rotated throughout the year in the museum’s soaring atrium. The work was specifically designed to complement the 46,000-square-foot building, itself a work of art, designed by Yann Weymouth, design director of Hellmuth, Obata Kassabaum (hok). The prints of this work are also large in scale, albeit smaller than their original installations, a necessity in promoting the grandiosity of concept.