Philip Wombwell's Installation is called ‘What It Is Like To Be You’ and discusses, through a number of programmes running in the Northeast, abstract forms of identity whereby we investigate the possibilities and connections to the self and others.
The installation comprises of 3500 individually made clay figures by over 600 people from first and secondary schools
community centre groups, refugee centres, support groups including disabled adults and children and those with learning difficulties.
'This community based program includes all walks of life and connects everyone together celebrating the differences and the similarities of what it is to be us and emphasises that although my finger print is unique and individual to me, it is still a finger like yours, no matter of colour, gender, race or nationality.'
Pictures 1 and 2 show location and an overall basic view of the installation
Picture 3 is regard to its underlying concept of the 'I Ching’ also know as the Book of Changes.
The i ching is an ancient philosophical prose dating back to 2500 BC (although that time line is debated) and translates to the 'the book of change'. It is based on a system of what John Cage called 'chance operations' and through a series of random coin tosses (3 coins thrown 6 times) you produce what is known as a hexagram that is made up of a series of lines or dashes (depending on whether the coin landed on head or tails for eg.) There are 64 possible combinations to these hexagrams.
The installation will be set out to show these combinations of hexagrams in a continual circle. Allowing one hexagram to change into the next.
Picture 4 shows a close up view of a few sculptures and how they will look finished.
The concept is to amalgamate everybody who has created the work into one whole circle, void of orthodox individuality, instead emphasising that we are all a body, a form, a human being. Our identity can be more than just the standard ways in which we see ourselves and others. The workshops create thoughts and connections to nature, the elements to a direction and encourages letting go of the basic principles of self.
For each square (50cm x 50cm) on picture 3, there are 9 clay figures, meaning for every 1m2 there are 36 clay figures
There are 64 segments around the circumference (that relate to the I Ching - yin and yang) the clay figures are painted in either black or white and wrapped in the golden foil blankets (used by NGO’s when rescuing refugees). These figures are then placed around the circle to correspond to the specific coloured squares on picture 3,
This artwork is not just about the installation, it is a process art piece. in other words, each stages of the work has been important point within the overall art form and not just the final installation, it is about getting people involved, working as a group, discussing issues and topics related to the self and doing this in a therapeutic way whilst making art.
The square in the centre is the grassed area within the courtyard of Chelsea College. THERE ARE NO FIGURES IN THIS AREA.
STEP1 - making the figures has taken approx 3 months and over 600 participants with numerous different organisations and groups
STEP2 - the clay figures are dried out and fired in the kiln, it has taken 2 kilns around 30 firings lasting 3-4 days each fire to complete the 3500 figures needed
STEP3 - after being boxed and counted for quantity, they have then been hand painted, 1750 black 1750 white (no brushes) with help again from groups and centres this has taken approx 2 weeks to complete
STEP4 - after painting they have been individually wrapped in gold foil, with the help of everyone previously involved
PHILIP WOMBWELL’S BIOGRAPHY
Philip Wombwell is an emerging contemporary artist working across installation video and sculpture. Creating a visual dialogue of time and space Wombwell’s immersive art focuses on aesthetical appreciation and enlightening viewer perception involving social political and institutional critique His installations epitomise natural formations and the coalescence of movement, statis and an embodiment of stillness. These expressions are extended towards a poetic undertone within the metaphysical elements of its narrative.
Wombwell responds to questions regarding the displacement of self the affect and casuality of behaviour, and the underlying destructive condition of humankind. He brings together ideas and discussions of impermanence the concept of emptiness and non-attachment subtly within the artwork. By re-using re-purposing and recycling materials Wombwell produces a connective resonance that is deliberated within the work and often aligns a clandestine abstract of form and function encouraging further forms of interconnection with the viewer and the work.
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