Brit artist, Adam Ball shares the details of his personal art creation
Time Out Bahrain staff
With an exclusive new exhibition, Resolution, by Adam Ball running at La Fontaine, we caught up with the British artist to find out how this very personal work evolved.
What’s the exhibition about, where did the ideas comes from and how long have you been working on it? Like all my exhibitions it has slowly evolved over a longer period of time, exploring new ways of doing things with new media. The work in this show has been produced over the last 12-18 months, and will include my first mural.
The pre-show publicity piece Harmonic Motion appears to be incredibly labour intensive, is it all hand-cut? All my cut-outs are labour intensive, sometimes taking 100s of hours to hand-cut. Once I’ve created the image, by layering photographs, X-rays and drawings, I draw it out and cut with a surgical scalpel, with great care and attention to detail. The paper is then rolled carefully to allow it to curl slightly when framed, within given limits. The piece therefore changes with differing lighting and atmospheric conditions, almost as if it’s a living organic entity. In Harmonic Motion this affects how much colour is reflected in the gold background.
It seems you’ve used yourself for inspiration, did you actually go and get analysis of your DNA to work from and how did the works progress? This body of work has been evolving over the last couple of years, using images I’ve photographed or taken from science libraries or by collaborating with scientists and doctors. As these images have evolved it seemed a natural conclusion to use myself as the starting point for some of these images, allowing me to have more control over the process - what is photographed and how it is photographed. For example, in live blood analysis I give a blood sample which is then photographed under high magnification, with my supervision. This gives me the source material I need (and inadvertently tells me how healthy or otherwise I am). While my blood is the starting point for some of the work, it is the organic material that is the inspiration.
Will the DNA mural on the gallery wall be a permanent exhibit? The mural is similar to a large hand painted wallpaper taken from patterns made from my chromosomes. It is painted directly on the wall and, like graffiti, is not intended to be permanent. Like a tag but more personal - a sort of self-portrait but from the inside out. Using the starting point of human life it is as relevant to who we are as our physical appearance. It’s intended that this could be commissioned and re-installed elsewhere but using someone else’s DNA.
The exhibition description says you aim to ‘echo the hidden order and transient disposition of nature’ what does this mean? To simplify, I have looked intently at nature on a microbiological level and on a more macro level (including photographs I took in the rainforest). I wanted these images to illustrate things which we instinctively relate to and inherently understand but which are usually invisible to us. All these things are continually oscillating and changing and therefore can only be captured in a particular moment in time. In these apparently random images I have found great beauty, patterns and symmetry.
The exhibition was created for La Fontaine, will you go on to show these works anywhere else? Yes, most of these works have been made especially for La Fontaine. Following the exhibition, it looks likely that the show will move on to other parts of the Gulf, but this will be the only venue in Bahrain.
You’re known for large-scale pieces, how did you get into these giant creations? Do you still get a lot of comment on the tree piece which first brought you to public attention? I enjoy the challenge and ambition of working on a large scale as its throws up different problems and ways of working. The large painting I made in London was a long time ago, but I was fortunate that it was written about in the British media and helped me set up as an artist.
For this exhibition you’ll be working with Filippo Tattoni-Marcozzi, have the two of you worked together before and what is the value, for an artist, of having your own curator on board? Filippo and I have worked together many times before. We met when he curated my solo show at the Goss-Michael Foundation in the US and since then we have collaborated in Italy, Germany and the UK. It is useful to have a curator on board as they have specific skills that enable them to evaluate how artworks will look best together and provide a different frame of reference. Hanging an exhibition can be surprisingly challenging - works that you think should look good together never do, and all works look different in each space.
What’s next for you? My next exhibition opens on November 7 in Paris at Galerie Laurent Mueller, the French gallery that represents me. I’m also showing in two exhibitions in London. Resolution is at La Fontaine until December 31.