Muhammad Ali Center

Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville, Kentucky


"Clarke's juxtaposition of large-scale plates of glass with photographically derived, digitally altered patterns, resembling the Ben Day dots traditionally used to make photographic reproductions, has revealed the technical range of his working vocabulary. Through his original technique of laminating three quarter-inch glass plates, composed of separately enameled, dot patterned plates in blue, yellow; and black, into a single unit, Clarke has obtained startling illusionistic effects. Clarke explored the technique in a 1998 proposal for the exterior facade for the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, in collaboration with the American architect Leo Skolnick. He envisioned an enormous photographic likeness of the boxer, in which the integration of color dots would create the effect of a moiré pattern. He then formally introduced it on a monumental scale, in his 2000 collaboration with Sir Norman Foster at the Al Faisliah Complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia." - Robert Morgan

"The three layers of glass Clarke employs in Transillumination, painted black, yellow and blue, are also the colours (minus the red layer) used in 4-colour lithography. The opaque black is intended to emphasize the transparency of the yellow and blue layers, but in his preliminary designs for the Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville, Kentucky, (2001), Clarke substituted a red layer for the black; in this case the need to maintain complete visibility of the exterior from the interior was paramount, symbolizing the Center’s reaching out across the world. The dot-forms, which might be anticipated to resemble a kind of computer-generated pointillisme, equally recall earlier repeat motifs of Clarke’s." - Martin Harrison