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Tactile shape

The work started from the so-called ‘Molyneux’s Question’. William Molyneux was an physicist who, in 1693, wrote a letter to John Locke posing a question: ‘Can a man born blind who has learnt to feel the differences between shapes such as spheres and cubes distinguish those objects by sight if given the ability to see?’ Pugno’s answer to this problem starts from the observation that ‘a shape’ is traditionally meant to be visual.

By challenging this received notion, her sculptures attempt to investigate a tactile shape, namely a shape that disregards sight altogether. Her sculptures are made of clay and are modelled following a purely tactile relationship with the two objects, a sphere and a cube, while attempting to bracket off all possible visual memories related to them. She tried to touch them as if for the first time, trying to reconstruct a pure tactile condition. It is this condition that makes any new tactile experience of the same object something unique: an infinite wealth as opposed to the relative fixedness of visual shapes.