Richard Hassell

Wang's Bestiary I Limited Edition of 12

This tessellation artwork is based on Wang Tiles, first proposed by mathematician Hao Wang in 1961. There are 11 mythical beasts. The very interesting thing about this tessellation is despite being based on a square grid, it is aperiodic - you cannot make a patch of repeating tiles, although there are many fragments that repeat, they do not repeat regularly. Stay tuned for a very frustrating jigsaw puzzle!

The beasts have evolved for their own little world, a Serengeti “plane” where they migrate across the page. It is a tough place, with a lot of jostling for precious space, most creatures have evolved horns and tusks to maintain their place in the packed herds. These beasts are all hypothetical megafauna that have genetic links to our common animals, fearsome creatures that have evolved from rats, some from fish, birds and reptiles. I’ll publish a few of their invented natural histories in the coming posts.

This artwork is based on very recent mathematics, the 11 beasts are derived from Emmanuel Jeandel and Michael Rao’s research in 2015, where they proved this is the smallest set of aperiodic Wang tiles - any fewer, such as 10 and the set becomes periodic.

The design refers to medieval bestiaries, megafauna, and heraldic animals.

  • Archival Pigment Ink Digital Print on Awagami Bamboo Washi paper
  • 118 x 84 cm