Designing and creating a skier in the midst of a worldwide lockdown was arguably the epitome of irony. Confined within our homes and unable to pursue our normal lives, making this sculpture could having been a constant reminder of what we had all lost. Our freedom. However, for me it was quite the opposite, creating this piece was the pursuit of my passion.
I was invited by a new collector and his family to visit their London home late last year and my challenge was to create a piece which would not only enhance their home, but resonate with them all. I spent time examining the space and discussing their interests and passions. An adventurous family with diverse pursuits, we identified one activity which united them all, the family skiing holiday.
Invigorated to start a new work, I began designing this piece weeks before we were all given the order to stay home. Unfortunately, my studio is not in my spare room, so diligently following orders I did just that I stayed home.
After the initial few weeks and eventually being allowed to travel to work, I began the most important part of the piece, the face. I began to think about the challenge which we all faced and what even the most experienced skiers must feel when they are at the top of a new piste, fear, trepidation, uncertainty of what lies ahead. Feelings which mirrored many of our own, but then what makes the skier take their first stride, bravery, hope, and a staunch determination.
The organic form which I developed in other work, allowed me to convey these emotions in this piece. The stainless steel is rolled, heated and moulded to achieve this result. A brushed stainless face, his eyes are concealed beneath the polished stainless steel googles. Reflective and opaque, the piece standing at six feet, means the beholder is left looking at themselves, unable to determine what emotion is being conveyed at any given time. This is for the beholder to determine, maybe even dependent on how they themselves are feeling.
The powder coated gloss black stainless steel body is constructed using my signature faceted technique, the mass and form of the attire lent itself to being represented in abstract geometry. Creating an angular structure to mimic the movement of the suit.
The skis and poles fabricated from solid bronze which has been highly polished brings a luxurious warmth to the piece, contrasting with the brushed, polished and powder coated steel.
The whole structure balances upon a highly polished stainless steel plinth. Designed to reflect light and its environment, the plinth bounces light off the various facets of the piece, highlights the different textures and brings the piece into continuity with its surroundings.
The stance itself is inconclusive, skies and poles in hand..is he climbing the mountain composing himself for what awaits or is he coming off-piste, satisfied with his run? Or is he, walking away from what appears to be an insurmountable challenge? Much like the expression on his face only the beholder knows. For me, lockdown and creation of this skier has been an opportunity to concentrate on my passion and remind a collector and his family of better times past and ahead. What does this skier, in these times mean to you? A loss of freedom or hope for better times to come?
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