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07/12/2012

Sculpture: Concrete dice

Back to my all-time favourite post - concrete dice!   They're a French thing and you never know when you're going to come across them - often when we're driving down a country road I yell 'dice alert' and we have to screech to a halt so I can take some snaps.  II collected quite a few more this summer and I've integrated them with the others. 


CUBES! the ultimate embodiment of all things 3-D, sculptural and abstract



I love dice because as cubes they are such an elemental geometric form. The spots imbue these particular cubes with a special meaning, representing ideas of chance, luck and skill to some people. But for me, the appeal is in the simplicity of the form combined with the precarious balancing act these dice do on the gatepost. A dice isn’t really a serious object but some of them look very solemn and monumental mounted on their plinths. I like the asymmetric patterns of spots – spots being one of the most minimal uncomplicated forms of decoration.





Concrete dice seem to have been all the rage in France during the 1960s and you can find them in all corners of the country. They’re usually black and white in which case they definitely have a kind of 60s op-art feel which I assume was the design reference at the time – if unconsciously.

These are painted metal - maybe these people were going for a more up-market option.



If I see the home owner when I take my snaps I always ask about the dice and I’ve found out that people just cast them up for themselves – sadly it turns out there wasn’t a dice shop!

















The upkeep of some dice isn't quite what it should be!









I think they look great too without the spots - more weighty and sculptural, especially in this weathered concrete.

















It's interesting how the size of the spots varies - chaq’un a son goût!



Check out these giant dice!  Made by artist Marc Kawana in New Zealand who kindly sent me pictures. I mislaid the first snaps he sent me so asked him for some more - this is what he wrote (I had to laugh!):
'We had very heavy rain in September last year which resulted in the Manawatu River flooding, so the dice went for a swift ride down the river somewhere so I'm going to try and locate them at some stage. They were between 1 and 1.5 ton but water can move most things I suppose!'
















Oh dear - someone should have put a bit more effort into their spot painting practice!



I think these people in the Jura Mountains got a bit carried away...............!











These dice aren't actually concrete - they're wooden - but I couldn't resist them with their charming low-key painted spots!
Spied on a fence in Normandy - the owner of the house gave me permission to snap his dice but was clearly bemused as to why. 



Update:  I drove past this house again in the Christmas holidays and horror of horrors - my dice were GONE!! 





My dice:

I couldn't resit casting a dice for my own gatepost! People are absolutely fascinated by it, they stop and have a good laugh and I’ve often seen cars screech
to a halt. One thing that drives people mad though is that the spot numbers aren’t on the correct sides - I just put them wherever I thought they looked best!. We often get asked if we won a lot of money in the casino!


If you are ever lucky enough to spy a dice please send me a snap for my collection!!

6 comments:

  1. Here I am again browsing your very interesting blog. The wall of dice reminded me of a yard that unfortunately is now gone to the land of good taste. The yard had a 4' high chain link fence around the perimeter. Between each steel post was a concrete bird bath filled with stones topped off with a concrete seagull. The yard may have been about 20 meters wide and about 50 meters deep. There must have been 50 or more bird baths around the perimeter. It was a very intriguing yard and unfortunately I don't have any pictures of it.

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  2. Hi,

    I share your fascination for this theme.
    Next time start searching for mailboxes in the form of dice!!
    I collected around 10 photo's in Luxembourg.

    Fred Lelieveld, the Diceman

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love your dice too. x

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  4. Anonymous29/12/10

    I too love concrete dice! I wish they didn't sometimes get painted over and neglected. Thankyou.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Loved these di (?) pictures - always wondered where the idea came from and now I know.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Aren't they bonkers, love them, never seen them before despite traveling in France. I especially like the wooden ones. I used to work for someone who had lots of homemade tattoos and one was the 2 tumbling dice with the slogan "Born to Lose"!

    ReplyDelete

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