My sculpture is an intricate latticework installation made from lengths of white masking tape on a black rectangle painted on the studio wall. The black rectangle was painted with enamel floor paint, using a rectangle of masking tape as a stencil to keep it straight and regular. The tape was stuck straight to the wall, the right lengths of it measured, and trimmed with a scalpel. The position of the suspended tape was determined by marking out diagonals of the taped sections of the wall.
The main ideas behind the work include Arte Povera, i.e. the use of commonplace materials and the central concept that the idea cannot be bought or sold, op art, the moiré effect, which is an interference pattern created by the overlapping of two slightly dissimilar linear patterns, the incredibly satisfying process of creating intricate art, and the exploration of 3-D space.
Two of these are more important to the sculpture than the rest; one of which is op art, which relates to the moiré effect. The purpose of this effect is that the piece shimmers and seems to have a different pattern depending on where the viewer stands. The second main artistic element is the Italian branch of conceptual art: Arte Povera. My sculpture aims to combine Arte Povera and op art. I have long thought that op art is under-appreciated and wrongly dismissed as gimmicky, or merely a consumer item. By injecting an element of the Arte Povera movement – creating it from cheap tape, thereby making it worthless and impossible to take away – it tears down the gimmick/decoration label that op art still carries.
I chose white tape to contrast strongly with the black background to make the moiré effect more intense, thereby connecting the medium with op art. The tape is also an extremely cheap and commonplace material, thereby connecting to the Arte Povera-inspired aspect of the artwork.
My main artist influences include Robert Beatty – his artwork introduced me to the moiré effect, which connects strongly to op art and is the main visual element of my sculpture. Bridget Riley had a similar influence – as another op artist, her work creates the illusion of things that aren’t there – and my work attempts to do the same by utilising the moiré effect; it creates the illusion of ‘waves’ that aren’t there. This actually relates to the work of Escher, one of my favourite artists. His work is famous for creating multiple ‘worlds’ within the same artwork. This influences mine in that the moiré effect creates a separate ‘world’ from the studio and the sculpture. The Ttéia 1C installation by Lygia Pape explores 3-D space and perspective, which are both key elements in my sculpture. It also shares the repeated straight line aesthetic with my sculpture.
I believe my piece achieved effective visual effects; the interference pattern it creates using overlapping linear patterns is in my opinion the crux of the artwork.
In part this artwork was an exercise in neatness, as inspired by the op art movement, and the levels of neatness I achieved in the process were satisfactory and contributed well to the outcome of the piece.
In hindsight, perhaps I could have created something more complex to intensify the intended effects. For example I could have added more strands of tape or even used a thinner material, such as string, so I could have had hundreds of lines overlapping to create a more intense visual experience.