I couldn’t allow the opportunity to participate in Antony Gormley’s project ‘One & Other’ to pass me by. I applied and as one of over 33,000 hopefuls, I didn’t think I stood much chance of being selected. Astonishingly, on the early morning of 1 September 2009 I received an email telling me I had been picked.
My initial delight at being selected was quickly replaced by a mild panic as I tried to think of what I could ‘do’ during my hour. I asked friends, colleagues and family for ideas – filled a note book and then received an email from the artist Tony Stallard. Tony is based in Essex (where I was born) and works in public art (my particular area of interest). He suggested that I respond to Antony Gormley’s work.
Antony Gormley Field for the British Isles, 1993
I have seen two works by Antony Gormley – ‘Angel of the North’ (1998) and ‘Field for the British Isles' (1993) when it was shown at the Longside Gallery at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I decided to use ‘Field’ as inspiration for my appearance on the plinth. I had to dismiss any ideas about creating similar terracotta figures – the logistics made it unfeasible and I wouldn’t want to attempt a pure copy of his work. After much more thought, I decided that plastic figures might work – but not of people, of farm animals.
This decision reflects my interest in supporting non intensive, organic and community supported farming. (I am a member of The Swillington Organic Farm Community Supported Agriculture Programme) Furthermore, it seems logical to use the hour as a personal exhibition about things that are important to me – animals, art and children’s play. The work will be called ‘Farm’.
In ‘Field for the British Isles’ Antony Gormley relied on participants to create the terracotta figures that formed the final work, donating their time, energy and enthusiasm for the project. I asked friends, family, colleagues and anyone interested in art or farming to donate a small plastic farm animal for me to put on the plinth, as an artistic response to intensive farming.
Trisha McCrae Velveteen flying horse, 2009
Many thanks to all of you who have very kindly donated your toy farm animals for the project and all those who came to support me, watched online or sent me a farm animal joke on twitter / text!
If you did miss it, you can still watch my hour of plinthing online on the One and Other website