He dreams of building a towering sculpture in the form of a Cuisinart made entirely of chicken wire, twisted scrap lumber, and Plaster of Paris. In his dream the sculpture is so tall that it scrapes the ceiling. When he wakes he decides to pursue the theme but makes a refrigerator instead.
Robert Egert, Unbuilt, Conté on paper, 23″ x 32″, 2010
The artist sits to admire the completed sculpture. It is taller than the door and so heavy it can only be budged with the greatest effort. Summer has arrived. The attic is like an oven and smells of plaster and tempera. The lights only make it hotter, so he turns them off and sitting in the dark, he listens to the footsteps of people walking on the street outside. Envisioning his next piece, he realizes that he will have to destroy this one to make room for it.
The small silent museum is unmarked on most tourist maps and rarely visited. It is housed in a narrow, high-ceilinged palazzo that was abandoned in the war. Built with only a few, tiny windows the unventilated, ochre walls give off a vaguely moldy smell and if you drag your finger along their surface you will discover chalk on your fingertips. The main attraction is a sculptural fragment created by the ancient inhabitants, guarded by the bored son of a local grocer.
Unbuilt: Rue Des Martyr, Conté on paper, 23″ x 32″, 2008
We are on the top floor of a building in the Rue des Martyrs. The martyrs are those that fought underground during the War. The apartment has not changed. The wall-mounted sinks still hang in the stairway. The brown door pulls still mounted in the exact center of the door.
After weeks of serious labor the sculptor discovers that when he cuts a circular chunk out the form, it resembles Swiss Cheese. This makes him laugh. Emboldened by humor, he repeats the gesture at random. It is now 2 A.M. on Wednesday morning. Exhausted, more from the catharsis of laughter than from work, he disappears down the dark stairs and into the street.