War Room (mixed media installation, 2013)
This is probably my first finished installation, which was put together within a week for a critique session. The piece consists of several columns with dense surfaces coated with wax, plaster, acrylic medium and PVA. Sitting on top of these surfaces are small handmade forms also sculpted from clay and wax. These hinted at landscapes or mapped surfaces. The columns surround a hovering gold throne-like chair, which a sinister bestial head is perched upon.
I wanted the work to suggest some sort of vague narrative, so it would open a discussion on its meaning or what it intends to convey. I found that mentioning the title “War Room” to viewers had a profound effect on how that coloured the overall perception of the piece, and the subjectivity of the work was altered or redirected to a new tangent. The catalyst for the piece came from me looking at another student’s painting sat flat on a stool, and how my relationship with the work changed and felt more tactile. This then had me looking into surfaces, battlescapes, strategy maps and typical war room environments, such as bunkers, secure rooms and marquees, and how these have transcended into fiction - the primary setting for Dr Strangelove is one example, but i didn’t want to literally convey a specific scenario.
The nature of a secure meeting place for people in control of society is a powerful image to me, and the deliberately crude nature of the work had people describing it as “an aftermath” or a “children’s play room”, proving very helpful to me, as I want the work to lead people off into tangents.
One thing I would improve with this work would be to have played with and increased the spacial area of the surfaces, as to make the work more engrossing and enveloping. I found the installation worked more on a theatrical level than it did on a relational level with the viewer.