Adding height to Perspex work, destabilises centre.

Original purchased Perspex form.

In situ building of eye sculpture

Piece increased scale fails to adapt to new space.

Having built a smaller scale Perspex sculpture spoken about in a previous posting I attempted to modify its construction and add extra height to the work. I used two white pillars to help me in situ balance the work as I attached each panel to the other and gradually increased the height. The top piece was meant to curve in front of the suspended pupil and the lower piece slightly behind to give additional dimension to the sculpture. I would then remove the white pillars when the piece had been shaped into the space properly. In the photographs the work is shaped in a specific way to facilitate access for building it rather than it being shaped for final presentation. As I point out below this final point of presentation was not reached.

New panels were created and a new richer colour scheme was chosen based upon a variation to a colour palette I liked and I had seen in a painting by Ellsworth Kelly and a sculpture by Garth Evans. The panels had been assembled at my home studio and the height reached nearly 8 feet and the base of the sculpture had increased in length by 2.5ft to support this additional height. I was working at too narrow a depth in situ so that the upper weight of the sculpture wasn't able to be adequately spread through the floor. The central red and blue panels were simply supporting too much weight and they required too much flexibility despite my introducing a small accented purple piece to try and support the bowing forward of the top piece.

As the Perspex had been heated, bent and drilled it was already under pressure and in danger of cracking. I had never worked with these materials before and thus I was learning as I went along how they reacted to each process I put them through. The photographs are self explanatory in terms of eventual outcome as the central red panel cracked and the piece fell from the top. Only two actual panels were damaged but as new ones would be required this was not an option as it would take approximately 4 days to make just two additional panels to replace the others, allowing sufficient time for the gloss paint to dry.

I had wanted to make something from scratch with new materials for my final project but unfortunately although I did manage to do this the results were not what I had hoped for. I think there was a strong lesson here in knowing the space such a delicate sculpture would fit into and how something that had to be hand built on site would cope. I had built it at home and dismantled it but there was more room to actually shape the sculpture on the ground and to develop a stable base.

I had never intended to go so high with the piece and as such my initial design couldn't be adapted in time to meet the requirements of the space allocated. There needed an additional centre panel to spread the weight of the upper part of the piece through the middle.

I wasn't disappointed that the piece collapsed as I felt it was unsuccessful aesthetically anyway and starting again seemed an opportunity to put in place another finished piece that had emerged from the writings and artists I had been exploring over the entire project period. I did like the transference from the plain clear Perspex sheets to this rather strange coloured form and I think that is what I will take away as a strong positive from the weeks of experimentation with the material.

I think if I had appropriate time another set of interesting connections could have been made from the remaining panels that might have looked spontaneously interesting. The holes were drilled in the Perspex to connect one specific panel to another so it might not have been possible to build an ad hoc structure. This of course would not have met my project goal for the piece but if I had time I would have attempted some form of creative response to the collapse.



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