Which came first the Doughnut or the Mug? The Process

As my practice progresses further, I continue to consider materiality, concept and scale more closely. Having reviewed the work Shift Happens which experienced issues with interaction, caused by the scale being too large and the work being too pristine. I feel the natural progression for my practice would be to look at paper for my materiality, it’s relationship to the everyday (books, notes, writing, airplanes, fortune teller, lantern, hat, boat, paper ball) evokes an approachability that other materials cannot. Paper would also give me a rich source for my publication. I want to create a instruction like manual that shows how to make and play, I hope through the publication to encourage interaction and breakdown the barrier between artist and spectator.

However, using paper as a material for sculpture comes with concerns. The fragility at a large scale can cause creasing and tearing which contradicts the concept of topology but highlights that art can be interactive. Due to limited paper sizes the overall effect falls flat. Instead of creating an overwhelming space that surrounds the spectator with these play sculptures, the works are small and sit on the floor barely able to support there own weight.

I wanted to achieve something similar to Jeff Koons with this work, and by changing the materiality I think it could be potentially possible. However, by doing so I compromise on the concept of my work. To overcome the issues surrounding scale and durability there is an option of using 3mm MDf to construct these forms. They could be hinged with a flat 180 degree hinge or a ring binder- which would help to exaggerate a connection to paper-  and allow for folding.

Although it creates a strong link to folding that my work previously communicated I feel that to repeat the same aim but making it more approachable can be damaging. It limits my practice from progressing and exploring alternative scale, materials and concepts therefore i’m currently considering several alternative ideas.

Other ideas include:

-Musical Helmets

-Topology Playground

-Architecture Playground

These examples show the: Mobius Slide, Eulers Roundabout and the Mobius Climbing Frame. This idea is to create a connection between sculpture and play. The nature of these sculptures are topological not only due to my area expertise but the spatial manipulation they cause would have the biggest impact on a person. This impact would also create an element of humour. The Mobius Slide and Climbing Frame would create a loop that a person would be traveling around the inside and the outside. Eulers Roundabout is a take on Eulers Disk (an object that continuously spins) and would mean the person playing would be spinning for very long time.

Ideally in a professional sense I aim to produce something on a practical level like Carsten Holler’s work. An abstract taken from an interview with Tate, Holler said this:

From an architectural and practical perspective, the slides are one of the building’s means of transporting people, equivalent to the escalators, elevators or stairs. Slides deliver people quickly, safely and elegantly to their destinations, they’re inexpensive to construct and energy-efficient. They’re also a device for experiencing an emotional state that is a unique condition somewhere between delight and madness. It was described in the fifties by the French writer Roger Caillois as ‘a kind of voluptuous panic upon an otherwise lucid mind’.

Mike Nelson: their manipulation and arrangement subtly shift them from what they once were into sculpture, and then back again to what they are – examples of the machines and equipment left over from industry and infrastructure. The exhibition weaves this allusion with that of British history. It presents us with a vision of artefacts cannibalised from the last days of the industrial era in place of the treasures of empire that would normally adorn such halls.

It is clear that the properties i’m trying to achieve with my work include a large scale to incorporate the whole body and experience. When comparing the three artists I’ve mentioned about all three use large scale and metal as their main material. Nelson’s work is highly industrial but it’s placement shows that they are sculptures to be viewed and not interacted with. This is the same with Koon’s work, although playful in content and finish, they are too pristine to be touched (similar to work of the finish fetish)

However, an issue caused by using highly sculptural/unusual shapes on such a large scale means that the work becomes unapproachable static sculptures. It is for this reason and with the time I have left, to create a work that is relatable. Looking strongly at city architecture (blocks) and creating a climbing frame with this in mind.

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