Holding The Fort: Hardened Field Defences2019
This installation of seven "boulders" was part of Holding The Fort, an exhibition by six artists at Newhaven Fort in East Sussex.
During WW2 a barrel of petrol was placed in the Eastern Magazine at the top of the steps to the caponier. It was to be ignited and rolled down the steps in the event of invasion from the beach. This, along with the location of the Fort built into the hillside behind the cliff, led to thoughts about blocked passages, cliff falls, and the boulder which chased Indiana Jones down a tunnel in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The work also relates to the WW2 spirit of improvisation, “Make Do and Mend”, and small museums visited in my childhood where displays of flocked landscapes and papier maché models reminded me of bad stage scenery. This spirit of improvisation inspired the use of low-tech, re-purposed and surplus materials in the making of the sculptures.
The process and means of making of the boulders reflect my longstanding interest in the relationship between inside and outside, visible and concealed, structure and surface. A complex layered skeleton of woven willow, chicken wire and wrapped and woven cotton is concealed beneath the outer covering of stretched, layered and painted cotton sheets.