Friday, 19 April 2013

The Slowest Sculpture in the World

I've been working on the same sculpture at Art School now for a year, and still haven't finished it.

Apart from weighing nearly the same as a small battleship, the casting process and the number of constituent parts has meant that it's been a very, very long, drawn-out affair - so different from putting paint on a canvas.

So far, for this one sculpture, I've made seven parts in clay, built 13 clay walls, poured 13 plaster jackets to creat moulds, waited till the plaster has fully set,  removed the clay from the 13 plaster moulds once that's set, soaked the moulds, mixed the concrete, laid in copper elements, cast 7 concrete pieces, waited several weeks till the concrete set, chipped off 12 plaster jackets (number 13 still ongoing), and glued together 2 broken pieces of sculpture and put in 4 metal rods.  And that's all work that you won't see or have a clue about when you see the final sculpture.

It's an epic.  And I still don't know if it's all going to fit together and look like the idea that's been in my head for a year.  It could still be a complete two-ton disaster.

And when you take the cast concrete pieces out of the plaster, they have a life of their own - the material has done things in the mould you just haven't anticipated and looks nothing like you expected.  

So unlike painting, where I have control of the colour, the brush-stroke and so on, with sculpture you kind of have to give yourself up to the materials and let the way that the materials behave and the mistakes and chance elements along the way become part of the story of the piece.  It's a bit like being pregnant, where instead of owning your own body, it suddenly becomes a democracy.

Here's the base, looking rather like the mummy Horta from the original Star Trek series episode The Devil in the Dark


Set phasers to stun!!

It's like chipping a very reluctant giant concrete tortoise out of hibernation.  It's also Herculite rather than softer casting plaster (due to the weight of the concrete), so it's tough stuff.

It took two strapping young men to (very kindly) lift the base part of it for me when I moved it from the Art School earlier this week - hence the heavy-duty trolley.  It's preeeeettttty heavy.

Perhaps I should just start thinking of things on a much smaller scale, made out of something like tissue paper....

No comments:

Post a Comment