Stories of Rope and Clay
“Very cool to drop in on Stefanie Robinsons installation at Rubicon ARI today……we walk into a white space, walls , floor and ceiling . Hanging from the roof detritus ropes, sun worn ,ocean swept , sometimes unravelled and frayed . At intermittent points the ropes flair out into beautifully woven nests before being drawn back to follow gravity and continue to the floor where some coil , frayed ends tickle the floor, a minute nest, the essence of intimacy and well being , nestles in the fraying…Where rope meets floor a heaviness of clay nests ground it all and their weight and earthiness are such a wonderful counterpoint to the lightness of the suspended elements of the work. Roughly modelled and fired their earth colour combined with the subtle hues of ropes, hemp and the weaving create this exquisite and reflective environment….I just sat down and dreamed away. you can touch !….Texture ! I moved through and just a gentle bump to set it all in slight motion and the weight of the earth elements holding us firm. Anyway I think it’s really bloody groovy and quite literally hangs together really well…twenty stars ! 309 Queensberry street, We’d to Sat…12 to 5 PM, until 31 St August…oh and it’s a side entrance around the corner.”
During the installation of this work I had been determined to place the clay nests on the wall, as I had originally imagined them. But it just didn’t work.(I really did keep trying to make it work!!)
I finally allowed myself to listen to both the work, and my friends, whose advice I had asked for and placed all of the nests on the floor.
In the action of doing this, Paul Blackman and I discussed how lovely it was to hold them.
The clay nests have a warmth about them.
From this we decided to invite the audience to
Pick up a ceramic nest
And hold it in your hands
Take a moment to feel its weight
Its shape, its purpose
Then place it back in the space
Wherever you like…
I am very excited about this discovery. I love that the viewer is invited to engage with the work. That they can place themselves in it and experience it. I love that the gallery space and the work loses its preciousness; nests may get broken. (One did, but that one fell off the wall in the set up!!) Mostly I love that the work could be experienced sensually and kinaesthetically. It became about having an experience rather than about a concept.
Maybe its my dance and theatre background influencing my work, a desire to break down the fourth wall…maybe its my community arts practice and a desire to connect with people, maybe it was easier to let the audience design the space…it was certainly interesting and delightful to witness the flow of the nests through the space.