steel, knitting, Jesmonite, concrete, the artist's shoes
installed as part of the Emerge Showcase, 13 -23 Oct. 2022, as all of the members of the Social Scaffolding collective are also residents at Emerge. We were based in a decommissioned print room at Bath Spa University's Sion Hill campus in Bath.
Parts of me is a series of 5 multi part, modular sculptures which I made as part of my MA research in 2020. The original 4 were exhibited as part of my Interim Degree Show in September 2020 at Bath Spa University. I subsequently made a fifth assemblage and I developed the idea further, casting my feet in concrete too.
Here, each assemblage consists of a steel outline of my body, a cast of my feet (in Jesmonite, or concrete) and a draped hand knitted Body cocoon. One pair of cast feet is wearing my sandals.
Much of my work is made to be installed site-responsively. It was very interesting for me to install these sculptures again in another space so soon after the Taunton show. Here, at Bath Spa Uni there are high metal beams so I used a combination of chains and meathooks to suspend the metal frames. In Taunton I used steel wire rope. Although I think the meat hooks and chains add something interesting and dark to the installation, I think they also detract from the simplicity of the steel bodies. Maybe in a white cube gallery they would be less of a visual overload? The footfall at the university was low as we mostly had students and invited groups. I think that the meat hooks could potentially pose an unacceptable level of risk to visitors in a more public space.
Expanding some of my ongoing research into clothing and identity, visitors were invited to become Living sculptures by trying on these abstract pieces, along with some older works made specifically for participation in 2018. This had a fascinating side effect on the sculptural forms of Parts of me, as each time someone tried on one of the knitted pieces, they would put it back on the metal body frame in a different way. Often also, the knitted elements were moved onto different metal bodies. I am very aware of the fascinating shapeshifting qualities of my knitted works, of form and formlessness, and this was a good example.
I knitted the Body cocoons during the Covid 19 lockdowns in 2020, so I had been just about the only person to wear them. Witnessing others wearing them at Social Scaffolding was a wonderful experience, but I was surprised that I also felt quite protective about pieces that had been so private. Body cocoon 1 was especially personal as it had also been part of Self and Other at the height of the pandemic. I am still refecting on this. I wonder if I will make a new body of wearable sciulptures, specifically to be worn, to pair with the metal bodies and cast feet when Social Scaffolding tours?