The big difference with previous exhibitions is the outside element. This is my first attempt at outside sculptures or public sculpture. There were many new factors I had to consider; vandalism, theft, weather, health and safety, new and larger audiences, working on a larger scale in a larger space. The Boardwalk Project has been a major learning curve which generated lots of positive feedback.
Not everybody knows that there is an alternative entrance to the Pump Room Gardens in Leamington Spa. This hidden passage is an oasis for nature and wildlife and offers views of the river Leam, the Loft Theatre and Spencer's Yard. There is a lot of history but also perhaps an exciting future when the Cultural Quarter ideas will be realised. To draw attention to this not well-known side of Leamington Spa I came up with this Project which was part of the Warwickshire Open Studios Trail 2017.
During this self-created artist residency I researched the collections of Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum. The idea was to connect the outside with the inside and to create new works in response to their permanent collections.
The soft sculptures are made out of Tyvek, a textile/paper like material which is commonly used for the long term conservation of objects.I tried to recreate what you would see if you would visit a store room at the museum; objects in protective layers of Tyvek, obscured from view, only their outline visible. The Tyvek sculptures are now filled with cushion filler instead of real objects. However, to find out which object I was referring to you could either look up the unique museum identity number of the object or scan the QR code with your smart phone which would take you directly to the Windows on Warwickshire website. On this website you can find many more digitised objects from the collections. The labels are intentionally similar to labels that might be used in the store rooms. These were interactive elements to the installation, like encouraging the public to touch the pouches. There are 23 sculptures installed on the railing. This specific number relates to the 23 decorative ‘vases’ which are attached to the top of the railing. It was important to me that the works would be evenly spaced out, to create a balanced, mathematical, symmetric look.
Each piece has been inscribed with text. Language and text are essential tools for interpreting and collecting objects. I came up with words which I thought would describe aspects of collecting and preserving heritage. They are sometimes quite poetical or philosophical. These pieces of text were randomly connected with objects I selected because of any kind of relationship they would have with vocabulary. These chance combinations resulted in some intriguing links. I am fascinated with language because of my dual heritage and being bilingual.