Being involved in Light Night was a great project to work on and having only recently completed an MA in visual arts the opportunity to take part in a major arts festival was something I didn’t want to miss.
My work, entitled, Three Floating Forms, was based on the theme of circus. As I researched into this theme, which I did mainly by watching films of aerialists performing at circuses and training schools, I became fascinated by the various suspension ‘mechanisms’ that form such an integral part of high-wire acts. What caught my attention the most was not so much what the performer was doing but how the complex array of wires, ropes and swathes of cloth they work with was reacting to the movement of the body.
I wanted to capture this hidden world on film and combine it with the area I am exploring as an artist. My work stems from an interest in the forms and structures of film representation within the modern film theatre and the notion of film as sculpture.
The place in which a work will be situated is a major component of my practice and this is why the possibility of creating an installation specifically for St John the Evangelist held such appeal.
The piece of work I developed takes the form of a triptych of sculptural forms which, like the aerial nature of the subject matter, are suspended. Films of aerialists performing with the trapeze, aerial silk and aerial hoop are projected down onto the sculptures. Each form comprises two sheets of silvered perspex in the shape of a ‘T’, a flat horizontal plane acting as a screen whilst an intersecting vertical column underneath carries the projected image purely as light. To varying degrees the aerialists are almost entirely removed from the films leaving behind a ‘choreography’ of cloth, rope and hoop. As a result the moving imagery simultaneously exists as both film and in real space as sculptural form.
My original intention was to hang the work from large wooden beams that span the length of the chancel however due to various structural concerns St John’s were unable to grant permission to do this. The suspension aspect of the work was a vital component to its success and for a time it seemed unlikely that I would be able to realise the work after all. However through liaising closely with the church, who were enormously helpful in bringing the work to life, an alternative solution was found which in the end came as close as possible to my original vision.
The tremendous reaction from the public to the work on Light Night, when more than a thousand visitors came to see it, was entirely due to a team effort and, as such, I would like to thank everyone who was involved.