Photography by Declan Malone
Acrylic, fluidised media, wave makers and water, 50 × 40 × 40 cm. This sculpture explores the living spirit in artificial objects, trends in environmental news, the appropriation of aquaristic mechanisms, the magic impossibility of fluid dynamics (specifically water affected by vacuum), the inescapability of the 'contained-ecosystem', the kineticism of minimalist sculpture (Larry Bell’s Aquarium come to life), the aquascaper’s 'everyday', contemporary art instructed by YouTube tutorials (thank you Joey Mullen aka The King of DIY), the creation of a childhood vision, that fascination of water, a craving to be submerged and the comfort in the knowledge of a separate world that lives submerged in the body of water that you are responsible for.
As the wavemaker pumps water around the volume of the sculpture at a rate of thirteen thousand litres per hour, the fluidised media takes on a life of its own, churning and crashing into each other in the current. There is a life cycle in this kinetic sculpture, both metaphorical and literal, macro and micro, visible and invisible. The moving pieces of media are going through a process of stress and relaxation.
In a conventional aquarium, the media is used because of its ability to harvest bacteria on its large surface area, furthermore, the consistent collision of the pieces knocks off old and dying bacteria allowing regeneration of new bacteria, more efficient in aiding the nitrogen cycle by converting ammonia into nitrates and nitrates into nitrites.
What appears to be an abstract red blob is actually a creature that has been trapped, unable to continue its own movement through the unknown dimension it was once inhabiting. Although it looks like a further development of minimalist and abstract art, (perhaps commenting on the work of Jesus Raphael Soto and Anish Kapoor, twisting its concept through placement in three aquariums, juxtaposed by connotations to the logo of the CBBC quiz show 50 50 and the contestants pedestals in The Weakest Link) rest assured that this is not the case. The red, zeppelin-shaped creature is required to be submerged in water at all times and the perceived aesthetic nods to art history are entirely coincidental, the shape being a product of an evolution we are not knowledgeable of in any way whatsoever.
...Polyester Resin, Acrylic and Water. 70 × 20 × 20 cm. This sculpture explores light, colour, suspension and the merging of 2D image with 3D form.
Above and bottom left are pictures of Triptych by Yi Yang Liu
Colour pencil, gouache and pen on graph paper. 34 × 46 cm (×3). These drawings were the first visualisations of some of the pieces in the degree show. They are also plans for sculptures yet unmade or absent from the display.
Obscured safety glass, green balloon and water, 25 × 20 × 20 cm. An aquarium is a water-tight box designed to hold aquatic organisms and decorations, mostly for viewing pleasure. Safety Glass is identical in material to an aquarium.
Acrylic, acrylic paint, oil paint, hose pipe, polyester resin, gravel, pink sand, LED light and water, 13 × 10 × 20 cm (×4). Where landscape painting collides with aquariums we find an aquascape.
Installed directly into the wall of the left corner of the space, Four Aquascapes encouraged interaction. They were separate entities from the rest of the works and best viewed close up.