Carbondale, Illinois, artist William H. Thielen's site-specific installation ''PINK,'' as seen at the Southeast Missouri State University, River Campus Art Gallery. Featured from September 21 through October 16, 2009, PINK is about the essence of experience.
In creating the piece, the artist drew from a question that has plagued him from early childhood: ''Am I legitimate?'' Thielen first asked this of himself. Now, as an artist, society has stepped in and is asking the same question.
To develop this question in the piece, the artist chose to make it out of paper chains, a simple childhood activity that has no real connection to the art world. To bring in a strong emotional content, he chose the color pink, the bastard child of the color world. No other color has such political and emotional issues surrounding it.
By pushing both these elements, medium and color, to an extreme, the artist challenges the viewer to experience the many levels on which the question exists.
Each viewer's experience will be unique, as will their answer to the question.
Reams of paper used: 46. Sheets of paper per ream: 250. Total sheets of paper: 11,500. Number of strips cut from each sheet: 11. Cutting process: By hand using swivel arm cutter. Total number of 8-1/2 x 1 inch strips: 126,500. Number of strips used in this installation: 102,000. Number of links in each length of chain: 250. Number of chains: 408. Paper clips used to hold links together until dry: 1,000. Glue used: 1 gallon. Man-hours in creation of the chains: 500. Man-hours in installation: 58. Installation process: push pins in the ceiling. Points of contact on the ceiling: 3,800. Number of sore thumbs: 2.