Public Art Projects / Los Angeles, California
Size: 18h x 20w x 7d ft / Material: Granite / Location: Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital Expansion and Renovation. Willowbrook, Los Angeles / Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Los Angeles, California
photo credit: Tom Bonner Photography
The design of Pieces Together was inspired by the idea that each part of the whole is integral, as in a jigsaw puzzle. Argent saw parallels between puzzle pieces and all the voices of a community. To hear these voices firsthand, Argent spent a week in Willowbrook where he interviewed local residents. They answered questions like, “What is your hope for your community?” and spoke about their connections to art and creativity. The interviews, which capture moments of personal struggle and triumph, have been compiled and edited for viewing on a companion website.
The website where these interviews and stories reside is an integral part of this work. Whilst awaiting consultation in the hospital, patients alongside visitors can access the relationship between object and place. Upon clicking the explore button on the home page, the user is directed to a digital representation of the physical work where one can explore and discover who each set of lips belong to. The viewer can then hear each individual’s story in the form of a video interview.
At the conclusion of the interviews, Argent collected three dimensional data scans of each individual’s lips. The facial scans were massed together, forming one side of the sculpture that from afar looks like undulating topography. Following the curve of the entry roundabout where the artwork is located, the viewer encounters the other side where a spiral passes through one open mouth, signifying a single breath that unites all voices into one.
Classically trained craftsman worked for eight months to hand carve the intricate details. The artwork was constructed as a puzzle within a puzzle. Made of gray granite and comprised of twelve separate pieces, each was engineered to fit together seamlessly. The result is a monument to the community 18’ high, 7’ wide, 20’ long and weighing 110 tons.