Untitled (weights and column)
cast iron sash weights, electrical cable, wood, plasterboard, resin fix bolts
390 x 100 x 360 cm
A cantilevered sculpture, transferring the heft of iron weights through a supporting beam to a fake column via a gravity-locking mechanism.
An experiment in self-supporting structures, this work was an early attempt to understand the dynamics of gravity and discover means to resist it. The weights are heavy – some as much as 12kg, and are suspended with one end resting on the ground, partially collapsed as if halted mid-fall. The wooden beam is not fixed to the column: instead, the downward pull of the weights causes the two wooden cross-pieces to grip the column. The harder the downward pull, the tighter they hold.
The column is 3.9m high, but goes nowhere and supports seemingly nothing. The top of the column is left deliberately rough; broken; as if it has been broken off in some unexplained prior violent act. The column’s ascent upwards is abbreviated by the void above, in counterpoint to the dangling weights, their fall arrested by the solid ground.
The irony of this system is that to release it, you must push upwards on the projecting part of the beam, in which case the entire assembly (save for the column) would fall to the ground. In order to withstand the strain of the cantilevered weights it is supporting, the column is deceptively strong and is secured to a solid concrete floor with bolts fixed in resin.
The configuration shown here is just one of many possible, and as such the work is adaptable to different placements.
The work was originally made for ‘Spatial Needs‘, a group show I curated at Glasgow School of Art in early 2011. My digital / manual drawing, ‘Vegas Slices‘ was selected as the poster image for this exhibition.