Sunday, 26 April 2015

An Installation: Anselm Kiefer Artists Rooms Project

Embossed patterns on metallic paper

One of the big projects I am working on at the moment is a project with James Rennie School and Beaumont College in Carlisle, both of whom support children and young people with disabilities. The project was commissioned by Tullie House in connection with their Anselm Kiefer exhibition which is supported by Artists Rooms and the project is being run by Prism Arts. The work we are making is in response to both the work of Kiefer and also the site of the old Roman Wall, which runs through the Tullie House gardens.

My samples using conductive thread and paint

My samples using conductive thread and paint

My samples using conductive thread and paint

I am working with another artist, Mark Newport, on the project who works with sound and technology. With our participants we are creating an interactive installation which examines themes such as war and occupation, landscape and mythology. One of the things we want to explore is how places and structures can change over time. For example, the wall can be seen as a symbol of occupation and all the suffering that can bring but now it is also seen as a cultural heritage site, people come to visit the site from all over and to walk it's path.

Drawings from our visit to the Kiefer exhibition at Tullie House

Drawings from our visit to the Kiefer exhibition at Tullie House

Drawings from our visit to the Kiefer exhibition at Tullie House

I am really excited to be working with Mark on this project as it is giving us an opportunity to explore some ideas we've been talking about for a few years now but never had the right project to work on them. We are almost halfway through the project now and starting to get a good idea of what the final installation will look and sound like. We are creating a series of fabric pieces which will hang in the trees above the line of the wall. These pieces will incorporate lights and sounds, created by the participants, which are activated by sensors in the fabric pieces. The sensors themselves will be pieces of copper foil, embossed by patterns created by the participants in response to Kiefer's work and Roman artefacts.

Collage work

Frottage experiments

Working into a collaged surface

One of the ways both Mark and I are working with the participants is to build up layers, just as the wall is buried under layers of history, we will be making layers of sound and fabric. I began by working with collage with the participants, encouraging them to layer up different textures and colours. We experimented with frottage (rubbings) and using tea to stain our papers and make them more interesting. We then moved on to looking at patterns, using the collages we'd already made as a base to work on. For inspiration for our patterns we looked at Roman artefacts and coins and different sound wave shapes. I'd been given some metallic paper so we started playing around working on the back to create embossed patterns on the front.

Using tea to prepare our papers

Using tea to prepare our papers

Using tea to prepare our papers

This led to the idea of working on copper foil, using this material would allow us to create the capacitive sensors we need to activate the lights and sounds and would also allow us to incorporate our patterns into the work through embossing. I'm just waiting for the copper foil to arrive so we can try it out!

Patterns on metallic paper

Pattern making using carbon paper

'Embossing' the metallic paper

This week we worked on string print blocks using the patterns we created last week. We will use these blocks to print up different pieces of fabric that we can then begin to layer together to create our final piece. It's exciting seeing the work start to come together, it's been quite a difficult project as the themes are quite heavy and the young people have sometimes struggled to work with these issues. However, the more 'making' we do the more they are able to express their ideas and thoughts.

Working on string print blocks

Working on string print blocks

Working on string print blocks

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