I came across the work of Jo Metson Scott and Nicola Yeoman’s And Then… (2006) in Perspectives on Place (2015:16) by J.A.P. Alexander. I appreciated the use of sculptures in the landscape which are photographed from a certain position. I also appreciated the attention to detail in these temporary installations which all were ‘using a few props, found items or the fauna around the locale.’ – (escapeintolife.com, s.d.). Importantly I noted Scott and Yeoman used the forest as a setting for their work almost exclusively. For me the reason for this setting being used by Scott and Yeoman was twofold. The forest is central to their work which is often quite magical/fantastical and so in many ways it is a suitable location. Also presumably it enables them to set up the sculptures without too much worry about interference from other people and the forest is an ideal and accepting location for this.
In terms of the forest being an ideal location for temporary installations of structures, Scott and Yeoman are not alone in finding this the case. Artists like Zander Olsen, Ellie Davies and John Pfahl all utilise the forest’s meditative and solemn presence as a base for some or all of their installations. There are cases where an urban space has been used however, for example with David Spero’s Ball Photographs (2001-2004); in particular Lafayette Street, New York (2003). I have become more interested in potentially creating temporary installations through sculpture but have had difficulty envisaging implementing this into the urban environment where I live. Admittedly there are forests nearby to where I live. However, it isn’t in keeping with the work I’ve produced so far for Body of Work which has all taken advantage of spaces much closer to home.
One of my fellow students at OCA, Bryn Davies, whose website can be found at: https://www.indigenousimages.com/ has come up with an ingenious way of creating temporary installations in the urban space. His process involves the use of ‘shadowgrams’, I’m not sure how he makes them! but they are basically recorded shadows on photographic paper. These are then placed in the same vicinity the shadowgram was made but the shadows have since changed. This creates a feeling of inertia when the shadowgram is subsequently viewed in the environment it was created. I like the ephemeral nature of this work as well as the fact a form of photograph was present as the basis for the temporary installation. The shadowgram relies on a further document of it existing in the now changed environment. Without this document (another photograph), the ephemerality of the shadowgram wouldn’t make sense. Incidentally I feel the urban environment Davies has chosen works well, with one shadowgram shown overlaid on top of chewing gum in the street and with a leaf blowing over the top of it. This creates a sense of something ordinary and everyday becoming extraordinary because of the vision of the artist.
I started to see from the work of these artists mentioned above how I might implement this into my own work. I have been interested in photographs being part of a 3-dimensional sculpture before and I was adamant about continuing to work in the (urban) space close to home. I already have taken a lot of photographs of this area for Body of Work. I would deem a lot of it as draft photographs to help me get to grips with the area and what kind of work I’d produce for Body of Work finally. I have considered appropriating my own photographs somehow; reusing them to form another work, even if it doesn’t culminate in a photograph. One option available to me I could see would be turning the photographs into a papier-mâché sculpture.
Papier-mâché isn’t new to me (I made some papier-mâché as a child!) and I had wondered about using it as a base for more creative work previously:
- the miniature virtual reality placed in a magical wood – this is the natural exhibition? maybe come up with a plan about how it is to be viewed – or picturesque, photogenic Lewisham because it is built from papier-mache virtual reality
- the single object reproduced could be something that could be made – causality backwards… like handwriting (on paper?) photographic paper? or a scan of writing on paper printed, origami, or drawings on the human body x, papier mache, food – consumption links?
- a man made out of pictures – papier mache – doesn’t just have to be a man could be the props. Appearing in a photograph This photograph is one of many made to make another papier mache man! Rationale?!
- Papier mache sculptures made up of photos, which is then photographed… Could the photos making up the Papier mache be of sculptures?! (That you’ve made)
- A photograph only becomes a valuable document once it’s object depicted/appropriated in it has been destroyed…!! Ties in nicely with your idea of a parody of documentary value if you could make seemingly invaluable documents valuable because they are destroyed from trivial objects?/subjects. Doesn’t have to be photographs could be sculptures made from polystyrene and papier mache as well.
- What happens when you destruct a photograph? You can mash it into Papier mache, burn it.. collage it, rubbings, Clare strand, leave it to fade in water
These musings were all made previously to this post and I have put them in order of date conceived. I am a bit annoyed I haven’t tried out the idea of using photographs in papier-mâché already. However, now I have a better idea of which photographs I could include in the mix and final layering for the papier-mâché sculpture. This would probably be a papier-mâché ball to start with. Also I have some preconceptions to how I’d photograph the papier-mâché ball after it had been made. This would consist of the papier-mâché ball existing in the location the photographs it is made up of were created. Without jumping too far ahead I could see myself or someone who lives/works in Deptford holding the papier-mâché ball by a thread and being photographed holding it.
Fig. 1 Scott, J.M. and Yeoman (2010) Formations [Photograph] At: http://www.thewyergallery.co.uk/Wyer_Gallery/Nicola_Yeoman.html (Accessed 30/07/2019).
Alexander, J.A.P. (2015) Perspectives on Place. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
Davies, B. (2018-) Bryn Davies. At: https://www.indigenousimages.com/ (Accessed 30/07/2019).
escapeintolife.com (s.d.) Jo Metson Scott – Nicola Yeoman. At: https://www.escapeintolife.com/photography/jo-metson-scott-nicola-yeoman/ (Accessed 30/07/2019).
Scott, J.M. and Yeoman (2006) And Then… At: http://www.jometsonscott.com/and-then (Accessed 30/07/2019).
Scott, J.M. and Yeoman (2006) And Then… At: https://nicola-yeoman-rzrm.squarespace.com/projects#/andthen/ (Accessed 30/07/2019).