Fiber-glass insulation, cling-film, floor-boards, wood
Winchester School of Art
“This piece of work concerns itself with the internalisation of realisation, realisation of the viewer within the space and of the materials used and the process involved in the making of the work.
I was initially drawn to using building insulation in my work through personal research when I happened across Respiro by Giovanni Anselmo, a piece of work which has proved pivotal to the development of my work. It was the colour and ‘living’ nature of the sponge that grasped me, a nature whose wonder was dependent on its environment; this juxtaposed with the opposing material, and the tension present in the iron bars.
Interested in exploring ideas of decision making, of pathways in art and life, in choice and the personalised nature of it, and by the way that one’s environment dictates these things to a certain extent. Many of the ideas that I had been toying with in my studio practice seemed to personify themselves in building insulation, a material that we are drawn to, yet which we know to be harmful. A material that acts as a protective ‘nest egg,’ which fills internal spaces, spaces that we over-look and take for granted, we merely consider the exterior, when the exterior is often dependent on the interior. A material which, once uncovered and exposed, dramatically changes one’s environment.
When one is stood amongst exposed masses of insulation the sound is deadened, the material consumes all echoes, and one is simply left with oneself, with an abrasive cacophony of unnerving, internalised silence. A silence that seems out of place, at once humorous and disturbing. I wanted to take this dislocation one step further through the floor in the space, my work of late has been concerned with the use of everyday sayings or phrases (Dancing to the Beat of Your Own Drum, Mind Where You Step, etc.), and through this installation I wanted to explore feelings of certainty and uncertainty, the idea of having one’s feet firmly on the ground, with being a grounded person, with being stood on solid ground. I wanted to make the floor very slightly sloped and hollow in order to cause the viewer to question his knowledge of his existence within the space, I wanted the viewer to feel through listening to his body, to make use of his senses and intuition, to make sense of the space. This is why it was important to me for the floor to be the same colour as in the rest of the exhibition; I want it to be a continuation of the ‘outside’ but with a step that immediately causes one to question this transition through space, a gradient that doesn’t immediately suggest it, and materials that make no attempt to deny their real purpose.
The desirability of a bird’s eye view, a God like all-encompassing vision is one that interests me too. Within the domestic setting, the highest that we can reach is our loft, and so it has pleased me to work within a space with loft-like qualities, especially as these are confused further by the balcony, taking the viewer one step further towards a view that leaves him no more certain of his surroundings.
The use of cling film entered my work through an idea that I was trying to execute physically. An idea regarding the honesty of the partial view, of accepting its inaccurate representation of any given thing as being more accurate than trying to understand anything entirely, the idea that to reposition oneself is to extend one’s view, and the tension that surrounds the acceptance of reality. And so in denying total visual or physical access in this piece through the use of taught cling film structures that diffuse the light, interrupt spaces and prevent a clear view the viewer must negotiate the space in an attempt to gain something that he will never totally obtain. Ultimately, all that the viewer is able to do in this space is to observe himself.”