The National Glass Centre in Sunderland, England, invited me to realise a project which would be shown in their exhibition space. I used the opportunity to be able to make use of the Centre's glass workshop and its staff to do an experiment: what happens when hot molten glass is poured into wet raw clay? The meeting of hot glass and clay is kind of an impossibility. The glass, when not put into a kiln at 600 degrees to slowly cool down, explodes violently and dangerously as a result of thermal shock. The parts that don't explode straight away can still do so after months. Wet clay on the other hand explodes when put into a kiln at 600 degrees. So as soon as the glass became solid enough to lift it had to be taken off the clay and put into a kiln. But it is when molten glass hits wet clay when interesting material processes happen, an ephemeral meeting which I filmed.
In The National Glass Centre's exhibition space the clay piece carrying the traces the glass left, was shown together with the film and with the glass that came of the clay stacked on a pallet.
The film follows the process of the making of “Tranchée”, a monumental sculpture, now part of Le Vent des Forêts. Le Vent des Forêts is a vast sculpture park which consists of more than 5000 hectares of forest and is situated in the heart of the area La Meuse in the Lorraine in France. Invited as one of six artists to realize a work in the forest, I have worked for 3 weeks on the wooded heights near the village of Pierrefitte-sur-Aire. A 50 m long trench was dug out in the limestone ground on the top of a hill. The walls of the middle 10 m, where the trench is more than 2 m high, were covered with 20 tons of clay, pressed in the form of bricks. During a physical performance lasting for 4 days I have shaped the clay. A kiln has been constructed enclosing this work and it has been fired day and night during a week.
The realization of this work would have been impossible without the help, support and participation of many people from the nearby villages and people coming from farther away to participate in the firing.
The film concentrates on the performative process of the making and the shows the final result. For images of the construction of the kiln and the firing see under Projects: Tranchée, 2013, the making.
Tranchée, the finished work (2013)
Tranchée, 2013 (Le Vent des Forêts, La Meuse, Lorraine, France)
Le Vent des Foréts is a vast sculpture park which consists of more than 5000 hectares of forest and is situated in the heart of the area La Meuse in the Lorraine in France. The park accommodates more than 100 works of art. Supported by the residents of 6 farming and forestry villages each year 7 contemporary artists are invited to realize an outdoor project during the first two weeks of July. This year the Association Le Vent des Forêts invited me to participate. With 20 tons of clay I have sculpted the walls of the middle 10 meters of a 50 meter long trench, dug out in the limestone ground on a hilltop in the forest near the village of Pierrefitte-sur-Aire. A kiln has been constructed enclosing this work and it has been fired day and night during a week. The finished work is now part of Le Vent des Forêts sculpture park which is open to the public from March through September. The realization of this work would have been impossible without the help, support and participation of many people from the nearby villages and people coming from farther away to participate in the firing. This short film, by Will Menter, shows the finished work.
Tranchée, the kiln (2013)
Tracks in the Flats / Sporen in het Wad (2002)
Carrie de Swaan
What is shown are the last 2 parts (7 of 20 minutes).
In the Dollard, the estuary of the river Eems and part of the Waddenzee, the inner sea of the Netherlands, the seabed consists of soft silt. During the summer of 2000 I spent two months exploring this extensive deposit of mud. Immersing my whole body to shape the material, I made vast sculptures in the six hours that the flats were exposed. When the tide turned they were swallowed by the rising water. The expanse of the flats, the light, the sky and the birds form an essential part of the work and the film. The film is made by Carrie de Swaan. With support of ThuisKopie Fonds en the Amsterdam Foundation for the Arts.
Dust to Dust (2011)
Marlou van den Berge
What is shown are the last 10 of 34 minutes.
Clay is the material from which everything arises and into which everything returns.
With 7 tons of earthy clay straight from the Kleine Gelderse Waard, the last river wash-land in the Netherlands that wasn't flooded at that time, I realized a sculpture/installation/film project in the space of Punt WG in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in collaboration with filmmaker Marlou van den Berge. The film closely follows the process of the wetting and kneading of the clay to make it workable and the development of the work in the space. The tendency of the sloppy material to fall apart and the fabric needed to keep it together, became the leading elements in the process.
Helena Goldwater: "The film follows the actions and repetitions with the clay that are simple in their execution, but there is a complexity in the potentiality of meaning. The corporeal and visceral come through and lead towards an intimate work but also devastating in terms of life and death; horror on personal and wider scales."
Marl Hole (2009)
What is shown is part 1 (find part 2 and 3 on You tube).
A raw clay project organized by Neil Brownsword as part of the first British Ceramic Biennial in Stoke-on-Trent, England. During 5 days Neil Brownsword, Torbjørn Kvasbø, Pekka Paikkari and I explored the material of clay in its rawest state, at the location where it is dug out of the ground: Europe's biggest clay-quarry (marl hole), Ibstock Brick's Gorsty Quarry in Knutton, Stoke on Trent. Ibstock's workmen and their diggers made it possible to cope with the huge scale of the quarry. The film by Johnny Magee follows the work processes of all four artists.
In the courtyard of the old Jam Factory in which the Tasmanian School of the Arts in Hobart is housed, I worked during a week in a field of yellow clay, straight from the quarry and feet wedged by the students of the sculpture department. A film has been made by Glen Dunn. In his filming he focused on my embodiment of working the clay as a performance, the improvised choreography, and the clay being a viscous partner to me within the performed space. The project was an initiative of Creative Arts - Tasmanian Polytechnic, supported by the School of Art - University of Tasmania and sponsored by the Pathways Project.