Artwork of the month - video (48 sec)

Dice - 遠離浮世悲哀

Year 2015
Size Dice: 3.5 cm x 3.5 cm x 3.5 cm
Pedestal: 110.3 cm x 17.5 cm x 17.5 cm
Materials Dice: Californian Redwood, plywood, acrylic paint
Pedestal: Rubberwood
Options /
Edition 1/1
For Sale Yes, contact our gallery Fred&Ferry (Antwerp, BE)

This sculpture is a wooden dice, handmade by R&F F&R. A Chinese character is engraved on each side. Together these characters form the phrase 遠離浮世悲哀, which, loosely translated, means ’GO AWAY SORROW OF THE WORLD’. The artists have been carrying this specific message with them for some time now. This work is part of a diverse series of artworks in which F&R R&F have translated this same mantra into a new medium each time (see the project link for ‘Go away sorrow of the world’).

The odds of successfully driving out the sorrow of the world using this dice – by rolling it 6 times and landing on the correct characters to make up the full phrase – are 1 in 46,656. This near impossibility is emphasised by the use of the Chinese language, each Chinese character having multiple meanings and forming a smaller narrative island within the larger story.

The ‘key’ of the first character (遠) is 辶 , which stands for ‘walking’. The first character in combination with the key thus represents the meaning ‘to move far away’ or ‘remote’. With the addition of the second character (離)the meaning is expanded: ’to go away from something’ or ‘to remove’. The story continues to grow through the combination and interpretation of the various characters. In this way, the dice tells a different story with every throw.

For F&R R&F, the latter observation represents the essence of their collaboration: an artwork is never ‘completed’. It is a perpetual search for meaning, a playful and repeating process of failing and starting afresh. Play and language – in their broadest possible interpretations – also play an essential role in the artists’ shared practice. The chosen ‘language’ or medium becomes the subject of the work itself, leading the artists to experiment with their own role: from charlatan-soothsayers or revolutionary-diplomats, to nihilist-activists, and so on.

R&F F&R believe in the potential of art – including their own artistic production – to fulfil the role of ‘joker’ in the broad societal playing field. They see it as a means of exposing the rules of the game, questioning them and possibly even modifying them. Their artistic work complements this vision, as an ongoing experiment in which the viewer is invited to participate.

Short interview with F&R R&F about the artwork. (Dutch language)

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