In 1980 I spent the 7 officially allowed days in Burma and traveled by barge down the Irrawaddy to the south. I disembarked at Pagan.
There, in that ancient place, a thousand or more pagodas as high as church towers cover this barren area and lay siege to the horizon. I entered a narrow, but enormously elongated red brick building that completely enclosed a relaxed and reclining snow-white Buddha. Because the building was so cramped, I had to stand so close that I could have touched it.
Clearly, an unsuitable distance to get an impression of such a stone giant. But my astonishment was just as great when I found that I could easily see the whole Buddha. My gaze flowed in the truest sense of the word, from there where I stood, from his cheerful face, over the polished surface of his body, over each masterfully crafted detail, to his amazingly distant feet. Nothing changed in my overall view, even when I walked along the twenty meter-long sculpture.
I later found a similar impression of proximity, entirety and flowing horizontal views in some works by Henry Moore.
When I planned the steles, I wanted to get away from the view of the "whole". The various parts of the figure should emerge by themselves, without looking at the others.
For example, from my focused position, how far away did the pelvis need to be from the head and chest in order for me to get it out of sight?
Once the framework was finished, I routinely started with the head, which looks down into his own "quarter". Had I made the stele feet first, it would probably have been necessary to make an immensely tall "Jonny" of unknown height, with a large, menacing head hanging over me.
Thin bamboo sticks and self-hardening "Fimo" helped me with this work.
"Where on earth do they live?"