The Contortionists

Date: November 22, 2014 Category: , , , ,


In July 2014 I was sponsored by ‘Outdoorplus’ billboard company to make a series of large scale vinyl banners for Metal’s Village Green arts festival. The idea was to energise ‘dead space’ and soften some of the security fencing around the site – most importantly to activate the event with visual art and Metal’s identity as an arts organisation.


The images were constructed as very small scale collages using pages from archival books – Hollywood albums, a 100 year old World Atlas and a book of ‘Masterpieces of Art’. I re-presented these images with collage techniques and paint to create new contemporary contexts through the collision of disparate elements and distortion of the figure. Hense, ‘The Contortionists’ – ‘the dramatic bending and flexing of the human body’.


Situating the banners was crucial – some were hung the evening before but the majority were installed on the morning of the event, when all the infrastructure was finally in place and I could visualise and locate potential sites. One of the most successful sites was the skatepark with its high mesh fencing, already a dynamic ‘performative’ space, it was given a new context with these visuals and took on the look of a giant open air art gallery. I particularly enjoyed the visual interaction of the crowds with the visuals.


The banners worked really well as vivid, dynamic temporary interventions into public space and won a lot of great feedback – I’m having conversations with Metal to get them out ‘on tour’ – they are portable, weatherproof and easy to install, I’m curious to see them invigorate a variety of public space and to reinvent their contexts wherever they go.