WOON TAI JEE FELLOW 2014/15
Gallery North, Northumbria University
16 September – 7 October 2015
My practice explores the relationships between nature, objects and architecture. It revolves around ideas of growth and ruin, as well as the history exposed by these objects and architectural units as they interact with nature. The tension between solid building materials and organic matters is obvious and naive but at the same time fascinating. I pay particular attention to those prominent features of the landscape which are supposed to be familiar but are not easily recognisable. Once constructed for the purpose of habitation, they are now abandoned places, overgrown by nature; crumbling, decaying, becoming part of the landscape. As a result, they lose their function and therefore change their meaning.
The choice of materials and processes I use refers to my personal experiences and memories of growing up in Poland. My physical journey to these places, as well as research into history and documentation is essential and it drives my practice. I depict landscape in my sculptures by physically applying soil and clay within my work. I compose with plaster, paint and often organic materials and seeds to create new objects which have their own life. The unusual combination of those materials leads to other processes such as shrinking, expansion, growth and decay.
I repetitively use the form of plinths to shape casts used in my work. Through this traditional sculptural process I formalise the combination of plaster and seeds which then become part of the gallery space. I ‘destroy’ these forms and materials associated with traditional sculpture, by spraying them with paint and plaster and then reconstructing them in to different forms.
Time, process and materials are particularly important aspects of my work. Each piece I construct demands structured planning and a dedicated set up of its individual environment. However, even though I try to control this, there is always an element of unpredictability that emerges. The pieces I construct often appear vulnerable, as though they are about to collapse or fall apart.
I often create my work from a reflection on different architectural forms found within a particular place. The narratives surrounding these places are not obviously reflected in my new works, rather they are suggested by symbolic elements that are translated from one to another.