Feathers, lasers and wire
.passage exhibition, Wolverhampton
Tripwire was a site-specific installation created for the group exhibition, .passage, which took place in a temporary exhibition space in an empty shop in Wolverhampton city center. Mayhew Craddock’s work for this exhibition was a site-specific response to the building.
.passage: a means of access, a route, an opening, a channel, a course – an exhibition of work of nine West Midlands based multi-media artists.
Stimulated by the changing environment of the region, each of the artists exhibiting in .passage had left and then returned to the West Midlands at some point in their early, creative careers. Collectively, they explored their different approaches to the ephemeral notion of passage in this exhibition.
Fascinated by the personal nature of decision-making, Mayhew Craddock to explore the visualization and physical creation of pathways in art that she observes in life. The personal nature of choice and the way in which ones environment is able to dictate direction and influence one on so many conscious and sub-conscious levels enthralls Mayhew Craddock.
Before even seeing Trip Wire the viewer is asked to consider his own physical ability and desire to negotiate a crumbling, precarious looking staircase into a surprisingly harshly lit, dusty basement space. Mayhew invites the viewer to explore a space that might appear only to be filled with down, and it’s uncomfortable veil of dust that hangs in the air. With varying amounts of time, the viewer might then go on to recognise the free falling allure of a fine, red thread juxtaposing the tension of the eye of a laser beam, glowing, menacingly above it. Finding their own targets the beams are only visible if their path is interrupted, are they there to be avoided, to be played with or to go un-noticed? In the event of movement within the space a beam might illuminate strips of pirouetting dust or interrupt the flight of a feather, dancing, innocently across its path.
Investigating the viewer’s relationship with materials, the goose down that lines the floor is at once comforting and claustrophobic. A protective nest of domesticity/homeliness, yet when found at rest in this starkly lit, abandoned space takes on a much more uneasy, sinister role as it follows ones every movement around and beyond the space.
Interaction animates the down, breathing graceful puffs of life into it once again; the wonder is dependant upon its environment and its being observed. When juxtaposed with the uneasy tension present in the opposing lasers, whose silent, precise manifestation is also only realized upon interaction, the viewer becomes able to observe and to contemplate these barely visible and highly complex pathways; marking out within, sensitive to and restricted by their environment.
.passage was funded by the Arts Council England grants for the arts, and through the support of Wolverhampton Art Gallery; also working in collaboration with The Sheila Cooke Foundation, who kindly hosted the after party with a live dj set by Artists’ Valley Records, and in collaboration with Wolverhampton City Council who granted permission for participants to unite venues through an interactive performance art parade through the streets of Wolverhampton city centre at 10pm on the evening of the private view.