Gaelen Pinnock

News:

Structure #1 was shortlisted for the 2015 Barclays L’Atelier Award

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Selected by the ABSA L'Atelier as one of the top 80 young artists of the year for 2014.

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Touching the void

Touching the void

2017
Wooden prototype for steel
2600 x 1000 x 1000cm

Baucis

Baucis

2015
Mild steel.
66 x 36 x 35cm

Baucis

Baucis

2015
Mild steel.
66 x 36 x 35cm

Phyllis

Phyllis

2015
Mild steel.
67 x 30 x 30cm

Phyllis

Phyllis

2015
Mild steel.
67 x 30 x 30cm

Touching the void

Touching the void

2017
Wooden prototype for steel
2600 x 1000 x 1000cm

Italo Calvino’s book Invisible Cities is an account of a fictional conversation between the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan and the Venetian explorer, Marco Polo. In the course of their discussions, Polo describes a series of metropolises, each of which bears a woman’s name. The cities are fantastical in both construction and concept. They are described in a magical, poetic manner, sometimes childlike, sometimes melancholy. The text suspends disbelief and opens the reader’s imagination to the potentiality of these fantastical places. The tale intersperses the dialogue between Polo and Khan with descriptions of 55 cities. The accounts are divided into eleven groups: Cities and Memory, Cities and Desire, Cities and Signs, Thin Cities, Trading Cities, Cities and Eyes, Cities and Names, Cities and the Dead, Cities and the Sky, Continuous Cities, and Hidden Cities

These are beguiling places, where things are never as they seem. The cities are thought experiments in which the laws of physics are unravelled and the limitations of material reality are ignored. Physical portrayal is blurred with metaphor, emotion, aspirations and failings. These are not only cities of stone and steel, but also of ideas.

This series of sculptures were inspired by Calvino’s text. The first two shown here are distillations of two cities, Baucis and Phyllis. They are made of 8mm thick mild steel, cut, bent, bolted or slotted together.

Lost above the clouds:

Baucis is based on its namesake. The city is described by Calvino as follows

“After a seven days’ march through woodland, the traveller directed toward Baucis cannot see the city and yet he has arrived. The slender stilts that rise from the ground at a great distance from one another and are lost above the clouds support the city. You climb them with ladders. On the ground the inhabitants rarely show themselves: having already everything they need up there, they prefer not to come down. Nothing of the city touches the earth except those long flamingo legs on which it rests and, when the days are sunny, a pierced, angular shadow that falls on the foliage. There are three hypotheses about the inhabitants of Baucis: that they hate the earth; that they respect it so much they avoid all contact; that they love it as it was before they existed and with spyglasses and telescopes aimed downward they never tire of examining it, leaf by leaf, stone by stone, ant by ant, contemplating with fascination their own absence.”

Suspended in the void:

Phyllis i also based on its namesake city. Here is an excerpt from Calvino’s description of the city:

[…] Soon the city fades before your eyes, the rose windows are expunged, the statues on the corbels, the domes. Like all of Phyllis’s inhabitants, you follow zigzag lines from one street to another, you distinguish the patches of sunlight from the patches of shade, a door here, a stairway there, a bench where you can put down your basket, a hole where your foot stumbles if you are not careful. All the rest of the city is invisible. Phyllis is a space in which routes are drawn between points suspended in the void: the shortest way to reach that certain merchant’s tent, avoiding that certain creditor’s window. Your footsteps follow not what is outside the eyes, but what is within, buried, erased. […]

Millions of eyes look up at windows, bridges, capers, and they might be scanning a blank page. Many are the cities like Phyllis, which elude the gaze of all, except the man who catches them by surprise.”

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These sculptures where exhibited at Commune.1 Gallery in Cape Town in a group show called Load Shedding