Overpass/Underpass by Ciaran Begley is a response to an invitation by Amal Khalaf and Tom Trevatt, curators at Hold& Freight, to realise a site specific installation in the gallery space. The work is a 1:4 scale model of a railway footbridge based on a Hornby Dublo component from the early 1960s. Constructed from sawn timber and plywood the bridge is usable. However, as it is built to the maximum dimensions allowed within the railway arch space of the gallery anyone attempting to walk over it will have to duck as they near the top, bringing them face to face with the exposed London brick. As a scaled down model using standard construction timber the work asks a number of questions. What is produced in the interface between the very specific materiality of the timber used to build the bridge and the dark, cold London brick used to build the arch? Where do we position ourselves as viewers of this scaled down model of an everyday piece of architectural furniture? How do we negotiate the work in its uncanny but comprehensible form? As it uses construction timber and plywood, materials often used not just in the building trade but also, increasingly as the very materials of contemporary art, this work plays into the language of both whilst being reminiscent of both actually existing architecture and models used in Hornby train sets.
This project is kindly supported by The Elephant Trust.