Dornach, Switzerland. A light cube becomes a receptacle for new geometry, a storage closet becomes an artist’s studio. The work of Frank Chester is all about transformation.
From one perspective, the Goetheanum’s Einszueins exhibit brings Frank’s art, created in San Francisco, California where he lives and works, home. It was at the Goetheanum in 1997 that Frank was first inspired to begin his line of inquiry into Seven. It was the carved Saturn capital on a model of the first Goetheanum that first captured his imagination. What would a seven sided form look like in three dimensions? Frank’s sculpture in the exhibition’s “kubus”, displayed in the Goetheanum’s Schreinerei from December 9 – 18, makes visible the answer.
Confronting the presence of the mirror-polished seven sided “Chestahedron”, alone on a single white pedestal inside an all white, glowing, eight by eight foot cube is quite a powerful meeting. It seems to take the full weight of cast bronze to arrest the metamorphosis put into motion by Frank’s exuberant enthusiasm and finely honed will. Entering into the almost clinical space, one feels as though coming upon an extraordinarily beautiful stranger aboard a space station. The world outside falls away and one can imagine a hidden world of geometric realities spinning by and around outside. A scene as of the future as any science fiction film yet created.
A humble storage closet across the hall, normally reserved for ladders and staging, stands as Frank’s temporary workshop. It is bursting with artifacts from the discovery process and glimpses of some of the dozens of practical applications that have resulted from putting the seven sided form through the alchemical process of the four elements.
The points and straight edges of the Chestahedron begins to curve as the fixed form is spun. Through the fluid motion of the element Water, Frank discovered the archetypal geometry of the bell. Cast just prior to the show and on display for the first time, two bells in bronze illuminate what Rudolf Steiner’s Saturn and Venus seals, until now depicted only in two dimensional drawings or sculpted relief, sounds like in three dimensions. Everyone has a hard time believing they are made from the same material as their tones differ so greatly. And it takes explanation for the realization to slowly dawn that these are not the subjective work of a sculptor who fashioned the bells in the seals likeness. These bells have arisen, unsought, from the geometry of that first seven sided crystalline form. This is the surprise that awaits each exhibition attendee who spends time with Frank in his temporary studio. Frank wasn’t seeking illuminations on the way the human heart functions. He wasn’t looking to present a model for a third, as yet unbuilt, Goetheanum. These discoveries come to him, as objective phenomenon, as he makes his way through deliberate, disciplined geometric work.
“Why did you choose you to place this here?” The curious want to know. “You could make this part wider here” offers another looking to be helpful. It’s a slow realization from multiple examples that Frank reveals with a long-time teacher’s patience, that Frank didn’t choose to put the platform there. He certainly chooses which elements to include in a model, or which to highlight with a darkened line or a colored face, but the geometry leads and Frank trustingly follows. He asks the questions, but it is the objective laws of a geometric world, suspended between archetypal ideas and manifest realities, which answers.
The element of Fire, represented by the tetrahedron in the sequence of Platonic solids, fuels all of Frank’s ongoing work — the transformation of geometric form to practical application gives indications toward a new earth. From his medical lectures resulting from the forms relation to the human heart, to the engineering potential of what Frank has dubbed a “Vortex Organizer,” to the architectural possibilities glimpsed in a model of a third Goetheanum building that Frank has designed for America, the implications of this first work seems to be limited only by one’s imagination and ability to carry out the transformations necessary.
Perhaps the greatest impression one takes away from an interaction with this geometrician and master craftsman is that pursuing our inspired questions can be enormously joy filled and offer previously unimagined gifts to the world. Frank Chester’s artwork offers a glimpse of contemporary alchemical research – spirit made visible, art and science reconciled.
A new trust is forming! Seven Circle Trust is committed to building a vessel for the continued research of Frank’s lawful discoveries, and to advance cultural applications of the art and geometry developed by Frank Chester for the benefit of All. Please visit sevencircletrust.org for more information and how you can help.
Frank’s work was on display from December 9th to December 19th, 2011.
View the website for the event (in German) here: