I was invited to create work in direct response to an empty building: Number 26 Caledonian Road, Leo Giordani’s former delicatessen – as part of the week’s artist residency A Transient Space, in Geddes Gallery, Kings Cross. I took this opportunity to produce an installation as an exercise in dealing with the grief stemming from the loss of my mother the previous year.
Components was a display of the components of the human heart. As the visitor entered the empty front shop a piece of paper explained how they might interact with the installation. They were invited to look around at different elements scattered in the room and offered the opportunity to experience what happens when one touches “the inside of the heart” by placing their hand in a cone shaped piece lying on the floor.
Every day of the residency I had placed metres of string between the sides of the shop shelves. This action was a way of exploring tension, materiality and achieving a state of meditation, exploring the passage of time and its rhythm. As the viewer entered the room the 1360 grams of string acted as a curtain of transparency, blocking the direct view of what was behind.
Beyond this layer was a lamb’s heart hanging from the deli’s bar symbolising the exposed human heart in its raw state. The cone containing “the inside of the heart” was placed underneath purposefully so that the viewer was affected by its visceral quality. As the visitor placed their hand in the cone they were facing the unknown as a black hole that could contain anything. To their surprise, the inside of the heart was actually soft and gentle, it was made out of warm soft comforting fur.
Other elements scattered around the shop shelves were: a poem, a mirror, a picture of a landscape and a bucket with the elements used during the residency.