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Ath 2009 550x500x180cm Stone, stainless steel, steel + earth, tarp & plants
Ath 2009
Pierre Bleue stone, stainless steel, steel + earth, tarp & plants

This public installation was originally commissioned by the "Service des Espaces Verts" (public unit responsible for anything plant-related) of the town of Ath for a temporary exhibition, but was so well received by the public that it was acquired for permanent installation.

My aim was to create a permeable wind channel where grasses would be constantly in motion, using broken and reassembled slabs of raw rock to contrast the vegetation. The integration of plants into the work was imposed by the initial call and I wasn't used to working with this material, but I felt the constraint ultimately bore fruit and fitted within the narrative of my work.  In the spaces between the rocks, life thrives - life takes place in the gaps. The particular stone I used is a local sedimentary rock, the quarrying of which has historically been important to the local economy. It is formed from the skeletons of countless living organisms - deepening the contrast between the living vegetation and the dead rock.

My intention was to intervene in the landscape so as to influence the way in which people interact with the space. It is set at an entrance to a wide open space, in an intermediary zone between the street and the park/play area. I'm told the locals very quickly felt that the channel had always been there. I'm also somewhat astounded to hear that no one has painted any graffiti on the stone to date. Not that I'd mind really, if it was well executed ;) - but I do take it as a nod of respect.

There was a reading given by an art critic that I particularly liked: the channel was described as a birth canal. Indeed, the narrow end of the corridor is a leisure space, a space for play and relaxation, whilst the wider end leads into the street, a space for work and responsibility. As one moves from one to the other, one is metaphorically born. I particularly liked the idea of birth (in this sense) being a potentially regular daily activity: underlining the importance of every moment as a crucible for decision-making. It is perhaps no coincidence that this installation was conceived and executed over a six months period surrounding the birth of my daughter.
I therefore dedicated this piece to Alba.