Cedric Christie, co-curator of the Susak Expo 2010 invited myself, Hedley Roberts and Hedley’s daughter Beulah to make some work around the title ‘Family’. After seeing images of the isalnd we decided that we would drive to Croatia along with some of the other contributing artists and make some site specific work. The journey took us through the flat plains of Nothern France, the crazy German Autobahn and the incredible mountains of Austria and Slovinia.
Susak is a remote pile of rock and sand three hours ferry ride from Rjieka, Croatia. It has only a few native inhabitants but the population swells during the Summer months. The village streets are ancient and narrow, there are no cars on the island and everything is transported on wheelbarrows.
The island’s forests of tall bamboo mostly obscure your view as you walk about it so it was serendipitous that we came across the local tip for furniture and white goods hidden in a clearing.
I was especially happy to find such a source on this remote island. I was toying with the idea of making another piece of work around the ‘Three Sisters’ theme. I had been looking at some photgraphic research that has been ongoing for a few years. The research had begun as photographs of candid glimpses into foreign domestic environments, but has now evolved to pictures of stairs through doorways. This interest started in a town called Aigle in Switzerland, they images of which sadly no longer exist, however I have been able to find similar examples in Barcelona and Ibiza.
My initial idea was to create a ‘jumble’ of stepladders, reminiscent of Escher’s steps, leading to the projected door and stairs of one of my own step images. However, without transport is was going to be an impossible task to drag the theatre steps I had found up the many stone steps or the isalnd to the gallery space at the top of the town. This is a work I am now making in London, but for the purposes of the Susak Expo, the tip once again obligingly provided three worn out ladders of descending size which perfectly represented my sibling theme.
I used oil bars of gold, ivory and scarlet rubbed the colour into the weather beaten wood of the ladders. The medieval design of the street gave me a cool and shaded space to work on an incredibly hot day.
The following images are of the work in progess.
Whilst in Susak I was also working on another ‘Three Sisters’ piece made from folded paper.
The island was very quiet and especially so during the hottest hours. I began to play with a new fold during the stillness of the midday siesta.
This fold is similar to the one I have previously used however instead of being based on parallel lines it is based on a star formation.
As I put these folds on the balcony to photograph them I noticed how the washing on the line was quietly wafting in the breeze and I began to formulate an idea of attaching the pieces of paper together so they flipped an floated around, changing the light and shadow on their facets.
I also wanted the paper to be powerfully coloured; fluorescent orange has been a prevalent colour in my work over the past five years and I thought it would sit perfectly against the turquoise skies of Susak.
The final installation did not allow for the contrast of fluorescent orange and blue sky but I was very happy with the traditional green woodwork framing of the piece, also it’s positioning in the window allowed for it to move in the breeze as I had anticipated.