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666 Pisces.

A poster with 666 fish in 36 different colours.


Download one extract of the poster.




Op. 6

11.01.2020 #666Pisces


My personal notes about
666 Pisces


In 2011, I was swimming between Manly and Shelly beach, in Sydney, when suddenly I found myself swimming through a school of fish. The fish swam through me, literally. Eventually, both the fish and I swam away from each other and I made it to Shelly beach. I got out of the water and thought, ‘What a freaky experience’.


Several years later, around 2018, when I had the initial idea for the 666 Pisces I had to think about this Australian episode, which somehow had never been erased from my bank of memories.



The idea


666 Pisces started off as an opportunity to experiment with patterns and colours. It was meant to be a mix of 666 fish in different colours, as if I had decided to paint each fish before returning them to the sea.


The number 666, known as the number of the beast, was the perfect number to illustrate the cruelty of mother nature. The mystery of the living experience.


666 is also the sum of 36 + 35 + 34 + 33 + 32 + 31 + 30 + 29 + 28 + … + 3 + 2 + 1, which explains why there are 36 different colours in my piece.



The fish


I discovered the Argyropelecus Aculeatus aka Lovely Hatchetfish or Atlantic Silver Hatchetfish, at the Gothenburg Museum of Natural History. I went to the museum looking for a tropical fish and I got out of there with a sketch of what was apparently an ugly fish, according to people close to me. A fish in real need of colour, I thought.


At home I checked the Hatchetfish wikipedia entry. I also found beautiful footage of the Hatchetfish swimming in the ocean on youtube. I knew I had found the right fish for my piece when I discovered that the Hatchetfish hides in the darkest sides of the ocean during the day. A process known as diel vertical migration.



The structure


Replicating 666 fish in 36 different colours is not an easy task. When I told my children that I was going to draw 666 fish they reacted astonished, ‘are you dad?’ I replied, ‘Yes, I am,’ but in my head I was planning to draw one fish and use technology to reproduce the rest. I still needed to be able to control the colours and assemble the 666 fish in an A0. The result was a set of 6 groups, with 9 squares each and 12 fish in each square.


The remaining 18 fish were placed at random. Lapis lazuli is their colour.


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