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  • Writer's picturecchennells.artwork

Degree Show Installation

Because of my work being mainly positioned in the stair well it has delayed me in making any definite commitments until quite late in the day because although there has been some opportunity for experimentation the area is a main thoroughfare and there is a considerable amount that will need to be moved through the space during the studio clear out. When it came to installing the work this lead to some last minute panics and plan changes,

one of the main concerns was hanging the fabrics from the cage over the stairs. previously I had hung them with cable ties so they all hung from the same height - while I have been using wire to hang the fabrics since then it was too weak to hold its shape when I attached them to the cage. due to wanting the fabrics to hang and different heights so as to emphasise the movement I needed to change the way I was intending to hang this work. without something rigid to hold the fabric out they pulled anything vertical toward the centre and then you lost the effect of the hanging and it looked very unconsidered.

I used fine steel rod to provide a rigid edge to the fabric but then when using wire to suspend this the contrast was too great and the wire seemed weightless and insufficient. I had to spend an evening researching suitable alternatives to the wire and found it very frustrating that my installation seemed to have fallen at the first hurdle. in hindsight this is something that could have been installed further in advance but as I was still unsure about which hangings were going to be used in which space I felt the whole stairwell needed to be worked on at the same time.

the most appropriate alternative I could find was a length of chain that I could cut down to different lengths to provide the various hanging heights. aesthetically this worked really well and it was also strong enough to suspend a small pallet from the cage.

The scaffolding tubes that I have acquired are ever so slightly too big for the specialist clamps I have previously referred to, I had considered fabrication pieces that would allow me to secure the scaffolding in places and also looked at places that supplied hardware for fitting bannisters and plumbing that may provide similar style attachments but nothing seemed appropriate. This I was prepared for as I had already checked the sizing before I committed to spending any money. Previously I had used large robust scaffolding feet to support my sculptural structures - this again comes with the down side that my scaffolding if too large for the holes. However I do know that there are two poles on campus that fit these feet and was able to secure them for my installation so I will have two pieces to build my structures off of. this is good in the term of health and safety too ad the feet provide a sturdy base to the work.

Because of the scaffolding protruding at angles and it being a fire exit and disabled route I have needed to be very aware of the amount of space needed for wheelchairs to pass and that the ends of the scaffolding that direct into the footpath are adequately marked off - some of the scaffolding have yellow caps on them which I have been able to use for this particular aspect.

The main health and safety risk to this installation actually seems to be the fabric hangings - because I have them positioned hanging from stairwells they need to be fire retardant.

I have installed work at the top of the stairwell which meant that I also had to check that it was not a fire rescue point I was very surprised to find out that it wasn't but still I decided to keep the sculptural intervention to a minimum here and have secured a simple scaffolding structure using screws.

When it came to my intended work for the gallery space I was so dependent on other people have their work in place to be able to identify an appropriate space to position my work. When I finally knew where my work was going to be i started stacking my concrete casts, as I was manoeuvring the casts I was struck again at how nice they were as individual objects and remembered that some of my most successful sculptural elements had worked because of their subtlety. My biggest curational decision I had to make hear was how would my work sit best alongside the other students. the show has quite a peaceful feel to in when you are in the space and building up one of my more dramatic sculptural pieces would become overbearing and detract from the flow of the show. it seemed much more appropriate that the hub of my dynamic work was downstairs and became more subtle as it worked through the show.

My Final curatorial decision was to remove any additional "scaffoldin interludes" I think had I continued to try to put these in the degree show it would have tipped the balance and my work would have felt overbearing

There have been a lot of unforeseen changes in the curation and installation of my degree show which in part comes from the reactionary nature of my work - building out of the environment and existing structures, but also comes from curatorial decisions not to push my work to the point that it was detracting from other students work.

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