The JKK Corner Piece

The first time I saw one of JKK's Corner Pieces I was speechless. The perfect and obvious simplicity of it just took my breath away. All I could do was laugh! He had made one up in the corner of a room in his house. My memory is of a dark corner in a kitchen. Where two walls met the ceiling, drawn in pencil were the six staight lines that make up a JKK Corner Piece.

the JKK Corner Piece     The JKK Corner Piece is an optical illusion, it transforms the very room in which the viewer stands into an illusion! Because it is an optical illusion, it is easy to dismiss as childsplay or a mere moment's curiosity. But in the context of John's life and stance as an artist in the world, it resonates and shimmers as a mysterious doorway into an alternate universe that is simultaneously a universe of silence and laughter, of darkness and light, of being and nothingness.

    Once when he came to visit, he installed one in my kitchen. I loved it immediately. Ever since, whenever the kitchen gets painted, I reinstall a Corner Piece and feel John's presence and creative magic. Having one around is like having an almost silent poem quietly whispering in my ear all day long: thou Art! Having a Corner Piece around is like having John quietly smiling nearby.

The JKK Memorial Corner Piece:
Installation and Performance

I have installed a Corner Piece in each of the studios where I teach. Each installation was done as a demonstration of the conceptual process during my 3-D Design class. I announce the performance to the class a week in advance and invite outside guests to attend.

    About an hour before the appointed time, I post a photo of John along with the poem he wrote the day he died, and the 12 inch square template I use to create the Corner Piece.

    I begin the actual Performance by reading one of his poems and talking a bit about him. I tell about the D.P.I. and a few other anecdotes. Then I read aloud the poem he wrote the day he died:

I wrote a poem,
It was so huge,
It was immense.
It was nothing but emptiness.

-John Keith Kessel
Sept. 30, 1993

Next I take the template and a pencil and climb a ladder up into a corner of the studio where two blank walls meet the ceiling. All those gathered are asked to say: "Johhhhnnnnnn" while I draw each one of the six lines on the walls and ceiling.

When I finish the last line, I climb down and invite each person to stand in a predesignated optimal viewing spot so they can: "enjoy the most beautiful cube nowhere."

That is all there is to it.

Feel free to do your own version of the JKK Memorial Corner Piece. John would be happy to know that they are popping up everywhere.