Anthony Heywood: Tabula Fortis in Pace, on show in Dover, Kent

Tabula Fortis in Pace, commissioned as part of the Cultural Olympiad 2012, is a community based project by Anthony Heywood and Uwe Derksen.

The work has been recently installed on Charlton Green Dover [commissioned for 5 years by DDC. It is in everyday use and is visible from different vantage points around the green.

“Tabula – Fortis in Pace” (2011 onwards), otherwise known as “The Table,” performs functions traditionally associated with the functional everyday  table while simultaneously maintaining an aesthetic role as a sculptural object. At circa 900mm in height the table, which is made of reclaimed timbers is at the limit of functional use. The table comes in three pieces and is round in shape. The top comes in halves and is about 4m in diameter when joined. It rests on a base which is about 2.4 m in diameter. Its weight is circa 4.5 tons. The Table’s dimension and construction gives it is sculptural gravity.

In its everyday usage, the table offers a place for rest, debate, conviviality and reverie; characteristics that have led it to feature in the work of many sculptors and artists. In fact, the table seems to have been subject to an expanding range of explorations and interpretations  within the realm of fine art.  Examples abound, including Constantin Brancusi’s symbol of peace (“Table of Silence,” 1938), Anthony Caro’s “Table Pieces” (1966-69), Judy Chicago’s emblem of equality (“The Dinner Party,” 1974-9) and Giancarlo Neri’s 30 metre high “The Writer” (2005). As these examples suggest, such explorations have a tendency to engage with the table’s socio-cultural and political connotations. For “The Table,” these connotations are the starting point.

“TheTable” is a ‘Sculpture in the Expanded Field;’  that is, in the sense Rosalind Krauss gives the term when she states that “sculpture is … only one term on the periphery of a field in which there are other, differently structured possibilities.” To some extent, “TheTable” also embodies an ‘expanded concept of art;’ it embeds “cultural and artistic activity as part of, not separate from, everyday life.”  It unites social, political and aesthetic domains.  It is not an autonomous object but ‘an agent of change’ setting processes in motion. In fact, “the Table” is a richly layered hybrid form. It is a concatenation of values, a public monument to peace concomitant to everyday life, an invitation to reflection, interaction, contemplation and communication.