Cast Aluminum, dental tools, steel and wax, 12 X I X I feet
Collection of Hu-Friedy Corp., New York, New York
Ringsby was commissioned while still a graduate student to design and build a gargantuan dental tool sculpture for the Hu-Friedy Corporation, the world’s largest producer of dental tools. Dental Tool, 1995. now hangs at the Hu-Friedy World Headquarters in New York. This large and dangerous looking sculpture features sharp exterior hooks and an internal matrix built of hundreds of stainless steel dental tools. It is something of a dental tool fractal, that is the large whole is composed of multiple units of the same shape only smaller Giant cast aluminum hooks adorn each end of the tool. The handle is composed of hundreds of dental tools welded into wheels and the into a column that became the stock of the monolithic tooth cleaning device. At each joint where the individual tools are joined, sharp hooks pierce pomegranate colored wax. This gives the effect of dental hooks penetrating and be held together by pink human gums Hanging from an overhead chain, the piece appears very delicate given its diaphanous matrix, but the internal skeleton of square steel tubing is strong. And there is something about this large sharp object, particularly its shadow, hanging precariously above ones head that gives a sense of mediaeval torture or of perhaps the Poe story “The Pit and the Pendulum.” This was fully exploited by Ringsby who used it, and its shadows, to great success and critical acclaim with his performance at the Art Institute of Chicago, Fear of the Other 1996.