So I thought once a week, I would take a completed piece of work and share its background story- detailing the concepts and inspiration behind it and the processes involved in making it. I think there’s a temptation sometimes when you’ve finished a piece to just throw it out there and see what people can make of it, or to instantly forget it and move on to the next thing. I think this could be a useful way to reflect on what I’ve done, what’s worked and what hasn’t, as well as challenging me to explain it to others.
This week’s piece, shown above amidst others, (and/or below if you’re on a mobile) is Please Do Not Leave.
This piece was created in 2009 and was my first foray into light based art, as well as one of my first text based pieces. I was influenced at the time by the art povera movement- creating work out of humble materials.
By combining this with the EL wire I wanted to create something that was ugly and beautiful at the same time, that had a look of junk about it. The El wire in this piece is battery powered, so no tell tale wires come from it. (The wires in the image are from the other pieces) I liked the fact that from a distance it could be mistaken for an old box, if it weren’t for the ethereal glow coming from within it.
The text comes from the security announcement- ‘Please do not leave luggage unattended.’ Aspects of journeys, airports and waiting rooms, have inspired me for years now. This was an attempt to take that well known repeated announcement, given out impersonally to a mass audience, and truncate it so that it starts to take on a more personal tone. The finished object was intended to potentially reflect a suspicious or deserted device.
There are two strands of EL wire- the blue strand says Please leave and is constantly lit. The pink, saying do not is set to flash. This was inspired by the art of Bruce Nauman, whose neon pieces often have a simple double message.
The piece was displayed at Bombhouse gallery, Dublin, (shown below) as well as at my own degree show at UCA in 2010. It is still in my possession and still for sale.
It was originally accompanied by another piece which you can see in the image, called Removed and Destroyed, which was unfortunately damaged in transit, as fate would have it.
This piece led to future experiments with El wire and manipulation of words, some of which you can view on my Sculpture and Installation page.