I started making these paper houses last year in response to an exhibition about housing. I had many problems with the design though and found that they travelled badly ( got crumpled easily) So I put them away in a box and left them.
It was only when I started putting together The Cruel Sea Installation and I had to think about making the ships more sturdy and ‘people proof’, that I was able to go back to the houses and redesign them.
The 400 + paper houses in this artwork represent a possible regeneration of the derelict terraces in Ducie Street and surrounding area in Toxteth, Liverpool.
The demolition of these buildings is highly contentious, with many residents taking the view that the houses are ‘fundamentally sound’ and that ‘renovation would be preferable and cheaper.’
With arts funding cuts greatly effecting public artworks , a question of how we can sustain the level of art visibility – which has grown immensely due to the popularity of the Liverpool Biennials, with the regeneration of the area.
Each house in this installation is covered with a reproduction of an artwork.
The houses will be shown as part of Liverpool Light Night : http://www.lightnightliverpool.co.uk/2012/the-spaces-between/
With my work, I tend to play around with ideas and this in turn this produces a spin off of several projects.
The theme of my earlier work ( and still is to some extent ) is travel. So I thought about using a format of wings, that I’d used in larger scale project a couple of years ago – A Means of Travel and how I personally pass the time during any journey. I read…..and I listen to music.
What music sums up travelling….and how can I pass that on without actually using sound?
Looking at lyrics that were loosely based on travelling, I chose ‘King of the Road’ because it has a relaxed, drifting sort of feel. Even though it is an old song, people from all ages and different geographical areas seem to know it. Combining the lyrics with the shape, I had the onset of a project.
The first draft of the work was shown at Tate Liverpool, during the Liverpool Independents Biennial 2010.
I emailed the image, with simple instructions on how to cut the shape out, to several overseas friends, asking them to photograph the object in a place that was known to them. I also asked them to describe, in their own language, how they travelled to that place.
I photocopied the images that came back to me, cutting them into the shape of wings and created an installation of over a 1000 of the cut outs This was shown at METAL Liverpool inFebruary 2011.
I chose to make this work as I wanted to create a piece that had a connection with Ormskirk. It follows on from the ship installation I’d made in 2011 – 300 Viking shops, following a residency last year at Leasowe Development trust on the Wirral. Leasowe had a strong connection with the Vikings.
Although Ormskirk also has a Viking connection and the gallery had expressed an interest in showing that work again, I wanted to create something new for the exhibition. The exhibition theme was ‘ journeys’ and I really wanted to make something to do with ships again, but Ormskirk didn’t have an obvious maritime history. On searching Wikipedia however, I saw that Nicholas Monsarrat, author of ‘The cruel sea’ had lived in Ormskirk at one time.
I bought a copy of the book and began to read…. thinking up what I could do in terms of a artwork.
This installation is made from the pages of two copies of the Cruel Sea – two copies to represent the two ships in the book.
The Cruel Sea Chapel Gallery, Ormskirk West Lancs. 24 March – 5 May 2012
275 Paper ships, cut from the pages of the novel.