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  • Writer's pictureGillian Holding

Left Bank Residency: day 10

After I’d finished the spraying and gilding in my Dexter kill zone wearing a ventilator mask, I decided I rather liked these panels just as they were. After then having a sneak peak of the “final” side, I decided I definitely preferred the golden look. The “final” look is just too different from what I anticipated for me to properly assess it.

No real surprise there. Moving up in scale never allows for replication of the studies, and effectively it’s all still a work in progress, except this is a work in progress which is going up whether it’s resolved or not!

So what has been achieved up to this point?

The first time I encountered the Left Bank space, I was overwhelmed by the interior. Not just because it is an extraordinary contradictory mix of solidity and insubstantiality, but also because of the startling contrast with the exterior: unprepossessing red brick, stolid, and paradoxically invisible from the road. Left Bank is a place of contradiction and paradox, overlooked and overwhelming. Those were the elements informing the work during this residency.

Although the building is austere, when I started exploring, I found colour everywhere. The single stained glass window was a starting point, but I was more intrigued by the visible invisible: dead butterflies, safety gloves, gas cylinders.

I found myself working with an unexpectedly wide range of colour. Discovering at one point that the architect Temple Moore was deliberately restrained in limiting the stained glass to one window was interesting; the purist objectives of the architect can’t control the intervention of the inhabitant, visitor, worker. Not least, I’ve been fascinated by the manner in which every “view” is “framed” by the gothic arches. With unlimited time and resource, I would have liked to explore this further through optical devices and systems. So many more ideas there. As time sped by over the days, so many more great ideas emerged, but I felt, rightly or wrongly, that I needed to focus and crystallise on one specific idea for the show. I also felt that was unhelpful to the process, but it was hard to shake off the goal-orientation mindset. Looking at the exploratory studies, I feel there’s a lot more I could develop with what’s probably going up now. In essence, it’s a prototype. There are still decisions to be made. Some serious thinking about presentation and context and that’s fine.


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