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Project: Splash! Giudecca Arts Festival September 2023
Date: 2023
Location: Giudecca Arts Festival, Venice

(Hats off to Bob, Hannah, Kurt, and Mimmo)

In September 2023, the Splash! Festival offered me site-based residency for three days, under the Sotoportego leading to the Giudecca library. This short tunnel contains 16 billboard sites, used to display posters of local/cultural events on the island; a considerable gift to someone who loves working with old, torn fragments of previous posters and the notion of ‘place’.

I firstly responded to what was already present. Towards the end of the first day, I realized that this resulted in a series of additions on one side of the passage, and a series of subtractions on the facing wall. This negative/positive theme continued as the work developed. Using a hand sander, I discovered that the panels were made of high-quality copper, and a secondary theme of metallic oxidization also became prevalent. These elements and this approach were unplanned and truly site-specific.

At the end of the second day, I cut lengths of tuille and glued them with cellulose to the billboards. They were carefully peeled from the wall on the third day, to remove as much of the material in one “print pull” as I could. This left an artistic problem; I could not decide which was the more aesthetically pleasing – the front, the back, or the residue on the panels. I conducted an Instagram poll, which indicated that the intended output (the front) was the most preferred, but like a reaction to a tossed coin, the result was not to my liking.

Back in the studio, penetrating the layers with a glass fibre resin, the images under layers began to surface. This push and pull between what is hidden and what is excavated continued to auger and inform my thinking as the final pieces developed, as did the tension between compositions that included both chance and deliberated, structural elements. The final iterations will be featured in the Artworks/Shop section of this site.