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The Artist's Statement
There are two challenges involved with the making of inflatable sculptures: getting the air to stay inside, and the difficulty of removing the air quickly and easily enough to flat-pack again. It is the resistance to these seemingly simple and paradoxical processes that give the inflatable a sense of life and agency. Their stubborn resistance to ‘dying’ – to becoming scrunched into a breathless ball and hidden in the dark as they are wheeled around London in a suitcase – demands extreme patience from the maker.
Engaging with conflicting notions of humour and constraint, I create devices that lure in the spectator, with the imagined possibility to trap these bodies. Potential energy and an inherent action within colonies of objects have a strong currency within my material-led practice. Sculptures poised at distinct moments of tension are subject to unwritten or unspoken rules, relying on real bodies to animate fractured sets or props: the inhuman and the human intertwined in a bizarre and comic realisation.
I continually reference the cartoon landscape, which acts as a parallel to my real-world constructions. Unexplained forces and uncanny physical laws within the animations are pitted against the predictive schema of scientific rationalism. Misbehaving objects that conspire against the protagonist within the narrative tap into a contemporary social anxiety: that of a loss of control of human agency, as geopolitical, technological and ecological narratives are marked by uncertainty.
I was attempting to move the sculpture to a different room of the building it was in, when it became trapped in the doorframe - bursting and distended. That was the moment I took the photograph. The gaudy mass of air and gold disrupts our sense perceptions. Its rustling is so loud that at the height of the struggle with the sculpture, nothing else can be heard: it is as if becoming enveloped by crashing plastic waves overhead, as I attempt to push past the misbehaving object. A misbehaving object that was meant to glide straight through the threshold in the first place.
Lucy Gregory is a British artist based in London and Buckinghamshire. She is currently studying Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, and is a recent graduate of the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford. Working in a variety of media such as sculpture, photography and drawing, she creates immersive, large scale, kinetic systems of objects or environments that play with ideas of agency and materiality. Lucy received the Gilbert Bayes Trust Grant (2017), The School of Fine Arts and Humanities Art Criticism Prize (2017), The Gibbs Prize in Fine Art (2016), and has exhibited work in the Big Shed (Suffolk), and sites across The RCA and Oxford such as The Jam Factory, New College Chapel and Garden. Her work has been been published online and in print.