Posted in Typeface, Visual Language

Ben Long

Overview

Scaffolding Sculptures

Long constructed the first of his Scaffolding Sculptures in 2004 after two years of development for this ambitious series of artworks. Inspired by his experiences working on building sites as a teenager, Long’s approach to the project asserts the value of a disciplined working practice as well as the playful conception of creative ideas. By comparing work of an artistic nature with the hard graft of manual employment, Long attempts to democratize the process of creative production, expose the artworks to new audiences and celebrate the role the construction industry plays in the advancement of urban development.

 

Thematically, Scaffolding Sculptures utilise cultural archetypes familiar in domestic and decorative art, whilst also making reference to art historical imagery such as Monarch of the Glen by Sir Edwin Landseer andWhistlejacket by George Stubbs. With each artwork the base structure serves to visually reinforce the sculptural intent of the project, making comparisons with the plinth, as well as reminding the viewer of a conventional use of scaffolding based on the familiar right-angle and cross bracing process.

 

Throughout this project Long has worked closely with various industry specialists including D+R Scaffolding Group and Amiri Construction Ltd. These partneships have helped to improve working methods, develop technique and overcome logistical and structural difficulties inherent with each permutation. Relative to the size and complexity of each design, a singleScaffolding Sculpture may take up to three weeks to construct, the on-going creative act being publically visible, and thereby lending a performative aspect to the project.

 

In contrast to their monumental scale, Long’s sculptures exist for a relatively short period of time before they are dismantled to become new artworks at a later stage. This state of semi-permanence not only compliments the intended function of the modular scaffolding system, mirroring the continual flux of the construction industry, but also, viewed as a chronological series, demonstrates how Long has progressed in this unconventional medium, both in terms of the increase in scale and the figurative success of each subsequent rendering. Like a child that plays with a simple building system such as Lego or Mechano, dismantling and re-building on a whim, it is the value of continual development of Scaffolding Sculptures that takes precedent over any one complete artwork.

 

Photo 1: Installation

Photos 2-4: Invite/Instruction Manual

 

Please visit Ben’s site for other lovely work: www.benlong.co.uk

 

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