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site-specific installation in London

Mammal: Alexandra Bircken

Friday 02 March 2018Sunday 13 May 2018

New site–specific sculptural intervention created by German artist Alexandra Bircken. Responding to gallery’s distinctive architecture, Bircken has reimagined the vaulted ceiling as a cavernous, upturned ship’s hull. Working with master boat builders to replicate shipbuilding methods, the artist has constructed three imposing bowed beams carved from a single oak tree, echoing the arches of the ceiling. Traversing the gallery space, the beams intersect with the existing architecture to create a spiral. This deceptively simple gesture wholly capsizes the architecture of the gallery. Concise and austere, Mammal is equally suggestive of organic, bone–like structures, producing a material landscape which recalls a vast carcass.

find out more visit Studio Voltaire website

Keyword tags

Alexandra Bircken | boat building | installation | sculpture | ship building | wood

venue

Studio Voltaire
1A Nelson's Row
London SW4 7JR

phone 0207 622 1294
email info@studiovoltaire.org
Visit website

Open Wednesday - Sunday 12 - 6pm

Please check with the venue for opening times, ticket prices and accessibility and other details relevant to your visit

#AlexandraBircken presents ‘Mammal’, a new site–specific sculptural intervention. Directly responding to gallery’s distinctive architecture, Bircken has reimagined the vaulted ceiling as a cavernous, upturned ship’s hull. Working with master boat builders to replicate shipbuilding methods, the artist has constructed three imposing bowed beams carved from a single oak tree, echoing the arches of the ceiling. Traversing the gallery space, the beams intersect with the existing architecture to create a spiral. This deceptively simple gesture wholly capsizes the architecture of the gallery. Concise and austere, ‘Mammal’ is equally suggestive of organic, bone–like structures, producing a material landscape which recalls a vast carcass. Bircken frequently locates our experience of objects in relation to the body. This new installation plays with tensions between interior and exterior forms, inviting inhabitation. Bircken’s use of materials is often broadly discussed in terms of its relationship to craft. However, in this new work the artist’s affinity for the handmade is tempered by the large–scale, engineered formation of these structures. Confronting these competing tendencies, repetition and uniformity give way to the haptic qualities of the oak. Traces of the hand, from careful repairs, knots and voids to pencil annotations and surface abrasions, cumulatively record both physical labour and the biography of the object. ‘Mammal’ extends from Bircken’s first solo presentation at Studio Voltaire (2011), in which one large scale mirrored floor work correspondingly produced a formal and physical reflection of the gallery’s ceiling. Bircken has frequently made use of mirrors and mirroring as a central strategy and this new commission continues the artist’s meditation on sculptural space, constructing a new and unexpected architecture. Lead Supporters: Emma & Frederick Goltz and Valeria & Gregorio Napoleone. Supporters: Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen and Henry Moore Foundation. With additional support from Herald St, London. Special thanks to Mike Tupper and the International Boatbuilding Training College, Lowestoft. Image: Andy Keate

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