Date: 5th July – 3th August 1986
Location: Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield, UK
Duration of performance: Saturdays 10am – 8pm
I conceived my idea and built the wooden pyramid after I had been invited to exhibit at Mappin Art Gallery by Mike Tooby, Curator, in his, A Sheffield Showing series, i.e. a series for local artists, augmenting the official touring artists’ shows. This work turned out to be one of my absolute favourite Installation/ Performances of all time! (Indeed, for some years in the 80s I tried, intermittently, to tour the work to another venue but with no luck and the pyramid is still stored, dismantled, in my garage!)
The work achieved many things, in my opinion.
- It was popular, even exciting, for a range of people – for people of differing ages and for an art and a non-art public – (it being summer, there were sporting, etc. events in the park where the gallery is situated and hence, people who would not normally visit a gallery, did so).
- All the many different elements – installation, sculpture, performance, photography, music, visitor participation, workshops – all worked well together.
- The participation element was not an ‘add-on’ – the sheets that visitors completed, really were part of my exhibition – see examples.
- There was a background of photographs of other ‘pyramid work’ I had done, so the work was in a context.
- The static pyramid was elegantly animated by the simple action of my climbing inside and appearing at the apex with the pyramid top becoming my headwear – my action was to sprinkle pigment over the body of the form beneath me and then disappear leaving the pyramid top behind me.
- Best of all, the structure had an inside as well as an outside – the inside being another, special exhibition space to be seen by my invitation only! It was a place in which I would share appropriately coloured food, i.e. strawberries on red day. People could talk to me about the work or fill in the sheets. It could be a comfortable space for me to retire to away from the gaze of my audience. It gave me a unique feeling of control over the presentation of my mysterious and beautiful work of art.