During my lunch hour over two summers I created a large number of assemblage sculptures on the old landfill site next to the warehouse where I work. All of this work has now been destroyed by the local oiks, but it was a very pleasent time and I think some of the work had real merit. The earliest incarnation of this was the "stupa" project, but the images of that work on my website are quite old. It developed substantially after that, and then I started to spread out as more and more material (old concrete fencing posts, wire, scrap metal etc) came to light.
I've written about this project in terms of "healing the land" and these pieces have that theme tying them loosely together. I also think of these structures as forms for the spirits of the land (or Kami in Japanese) to inhabit. This land has been so badly treated, repeatedly raped and abused by the humans, that I feel sure that the kami will have been driven off. By erecting these forms I give them something to inhabit while the land recovers - on the same principle of erecting bird-boxes to encourage birds.
Images of about half the works are included.
Click on an image to see a larger version
Two slightly different incarnations
What I think this is about is the coming together of the Apollonian and chthonic or Dionysian aspects of the world/psyche/soul/cosmos, and in the electrical interaction between the two comes the fountain of creativity. Mind you I didn't think this out and create the work. I dragged the bits together and then stood back and asked myself "what the hell is this one about?". I find this is a valuable approach to making art - bring in the intellect after the process is largely finished in order to understand what the impulse to create the work was about.
Just finished and catching the last rays of the sun; a few weeks later, bent with age.
Inspired by Andy Goldsworthy and obviously quite derivative. Never the less I think it is a valid response to the environment I was working in, and it doesn't simply replicate Goldsworthy, but draws on his method, and uses a form that isn't seen much in his work. It ties into the theme of renewal and aspiring upwards. The rock on the pinnicle is shattered rose quartz, perhaps symbolising the shattered life force of the land, being bouyed up by the cone, held aloft as an offering. The work was originally straight, but became bowed like an old man and it's collapse coincided with the destruction of the rest of these works by local oiks.
I get a sense of freedom when I look at this, desite being a hefty chuck of steel it has a lightness about it, like it is being gently being wafted by the breeze. While it stood it was a favourite resting place for the birds.
This one is definitely a protector, and feminine. I have the image of a fat, scandanavian woman in a Wagner opera in armour and a helmet with horns attached - but not as a figure of fun, a strong presence.
This one stands guard over the mandala. It has a sort of dragonish aspect to it. I'm sure this would be an attractive home to a passing kami who was ecologically minded and wanted to help rehabilitate the landfill.
At sunset, and on a misty morning
Another protector figure. With a lot of imagination I can just make out a horse headed dakini.
A "for the record" inclusion, not a great shot of it, but one of my favourites. This tangle of a smashed up concrete post and barbed wire needed virtually no intervention, I simply dragged it into place and made it stand up. A "Readymade" assemblage.
While most of the these works blended into the background to some extent by vitue of having simialr colours and tones to the ground and vegetation, this one stood out like a sore thumb. The bright orange of the conduit piping positively glared! There was never much I could do with with it, so I resorted to my most basic intervention which is to stand things up. Then I found the rainbow ribbon hanging and that seemed to fit.
Another reason for including this shot is that it gives a better idea of the landscape I was working in. Several of the other works appear indistintly on the horizon.