Elizabeth Murton’s installation, Between Materials and Mechanisms, is now fully installed in the gallery on College Lane. Fibres criss-cross the gallery, tracing a path around pillars, and connecting the floor, wall and ceiling as if the architecture of the building is held together by the tension of the threads. Red, “Hairy yarn” plays the role of muscles, gripping and linking to collagen fibres, represented by white thread. Panels have been removed from the walls, exposing the network of aluminium mesh beneath. Murton has taken the role of pathologist, slicing up and exposing the innards of the body that is the gallery space, in order to investigate its structure and composition.
A floating joint – a clay bowl – is suspended close to the floor at the entrance to the gallery. The tension of the ‘collagen’ strands is maintained by the bowl’s weight, as it floats tantalisingly close to the floor. There is graduated transition from red to white – from muscle to collagen – as knots are tied at varying distances down each strand of yarn. Nets will grow at intervals throughout the exhibition, spreading upwards and downwards along the height of the pillars. These pillars form the skeletal structure of the gallery space, and act as an anchor for the threads that reach out in different directions.
To accompany the exhibition, Elizabeth has invited diverse interactions from guests including a dancer, who will interact with the strands of yarn, and a chaplain, who will respond verbally to the work. A symposium will also take place on 1st October, to explore the themes of anatomy, architecture and materials that have been explored in the exhibition. Details of the symposium can be found on the UHArts website.
The following video shows how the various components of the installation connect, joining together the parts of the gallery that are ordinarily experiences as separate spaces. The threads draw the eye up, down and across, making visual connections between the surfaces and spaces, and celebrating the height of the building. Having been drawn to look upwards and sideways, one becomes aware of architectural features that often go unnoticed. The space suddenly appears more complex, with numerous layered surfaces, and industrial structures that one might otherwise ignore. All of these exposed objects reinforce Murton’s ideas about the building as a body, with complex inner workings that we take for granted until they are exposed by the surgeon’s knife.