The second iteration of Diana’s work continued her exploration of space and particular ways to manipulate or re-frame it. Walking through a darkened gallery, the viewer was confronted by a swathe of hanging blue sheeting – revealed on observation to be a tarpaulin, but at first glance merely a deep spread of colour, emanating sound and illuminated by a single projected rectangle. To look further at the material we could recognise this as the same tarpaulin used in Diana’s previous installs – the patches of dirt and grass on the surface identifying it as an object pillaged from a specific site.
Initially almost all the viewers viewed the piece face on – as suggested by the gallery layout and by the way the screen was projected. The video, not looped or smooth but with jarring cuts and it’s own slight movement, doubled-up against the creases and the slight shifting of the sculpture, creating a mesmerising blending of the video’s subtle changes and the suspended tarpaulin. The sound meanwhile added another layer of intrigue; found audio sampling the same area that Diana’s series returns to, both diarising and documenting it but through a truly original reinvention.
Yet another interesting aspect of the work was its dimensionality. There was a definite ‘front’ to the sculpture and it was this that first commanded our viewing; however moving around the piece showed it to be equally effective viewed from the side or the back. Light from the video spilled onto wall, floor, and other materials, manipulated by angles and by the ropes used to suspend the plastic sheeting – yet more could perhaps be done to explore made these incidentals. While the second tarpaulin below had it’s aesthetic advantages, through this effect of catching and ‘re-forming’ fragments of the projection, overall it’s material perhaps detracted from the work’s appearance. The initial impression of the installation had partly been due to the impact of the tarpaulin’s hanging form; when presented in duo, something of the sculptural appeal, and therefore the impression created by the piece, was lost through the merging of the two sheets. The difficulty of installing in the space for the first time no doubt added to this, but it would be interesting to see how perhaps the use of a different second material, or a change in the arrangement, might isolate the ‘screen-tarpaulin’ and therefore emphasise it, without losing the visual interest of the refracted light.
There is something fascinating about an artwork that serves as an conceptual reconstruction of space, when the first space itself was never, with intent, constructed. Diana’s installation serves as a physical meditation on things normally overlooked; instead of being incidental, the building material, the sounds of the site, become the focus rather than the process, an event in themselves. In the piece, an urban environment is quasi-‘profiled’ through it’s sounds and materials; an artistic dissection – yet this in no way feels like a dry study, but an inventive and intriguing means by which to create a sculpture.
With thanks to Diana