Producing commissioned work that relates to the purpose or geography of site and place, whilst maintaining strong links with the body of my studio work, is a challenge I particularly enjoy. Here are two examples of public art, made for very different reasons.
Pullimudu Junction, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.
The site-specificity of the design came from collaging discarded papers I found directly underneath the billboard and through the process of hiring local labour from the workforce that hand-paint advertising billboards and ‘Bollywood’ cinema posters in enamels.
The chance strategies used to create the design resulted in an ambiguous statement, with a woman looking directly at the viewer, seemingly from behind a ‘veil’, in a multi-cultural city of Moslems, Christians and Hindus. This drew attention from the press and created debate on site, which I was able to participate in.
Cardiff Bay Pumping Station, Cardiff, Wales.
Light-sculptor Charles Quick designed the boundary perimeter and I designed the floorscape of the new Cardiff Bay Pumping Station for Welsh Water and Cardiff City Council.
I researched Islamic architectural principles as artist-in-residence in Cairo and used these to create a symmetrical design using the proportions of the building. This was placed off-centre, as if an area of land had been swept away to reveal a fragment of another port in another place, connected by sea routes.
The freestanding sculptural forms contain powerful halogen lights. Computer controlled lines of light ebb and flow from them at night like the tide, criss-crossing the floor and augmenting the design.
Guy Julier states: “both artists were principally concerned with the poetics of functionalism” and this discourse between functionality and poetry is also prevalent in the entire history of Cardiff Bay”.