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Gerry Langton



Clutching at Straws (2006)

These 3 pieces were exhibited in the 2006 Free Range exhibition in the Trueman Gallery in Brick Lane

This installation was ephemeral, bright and playful. I used recognisable everyday objects drinking straws, pan scourers, and pegs, challenging the way they were seen. I work quickly to develop an idea, ‘painting’ a scene or capturing a moment and let the materials and the colours shape the result.

I am attempting to reach the child within all of us by my choice of bold colours. I created an experience and an interaction with the viewer and wanted them to smile or laugh as they recognised the materials that had been used in the piece and the element of fun.

I explored the nature of the space and enveloped the audience in the work and when experiencing my installation I wanted them to become aware of their own body, their own frailty and strength, in relation to the piece as they needed to walk through, around or under to see the work fully. I wanted to transform materials and insinuate them into unlikely contexts. I want ed to create the sense that they don’t quite belong but at the same time they do.

I chose to make my work light hearted and ephemeral as there are too many serious issues in the world and I am more interested in people having fun. The viewer was surprised that they were encouraged to be involved and were probably reluctant at first. We are taught to stand well back from art works and as adults we have forgotten how to play like children. I wanted them to become sensitive to their desire to touch the work, the viewing experience to be physical, visual and conceptual all at once and the work to be both vital and vulnerable at the same time.



'Clutching at Straws' evolved from an earlier installation that was was a walkway through 5500 suspended  straws. I decided to add a carpet of pan scourers that I had found along with pegs and balls in that well known art centre called Tescos! I felt that the pan scourers would combine successfully with the straws. The colours and textures all complemented each other completely and so the three pieces ‘Clutching at Straws ’, ‘Square Pegs in Round Holes’ and ‘A Lot of Balls’ began to evolve. The audience was completely involved by walking through, walking on, looking up and looking down at the pieces. The art work changed for each person. There were some lovely sounds involved as the straws rattle gently against each other and the balls knocked softly against the wooden board.

Square Pegs in Round Holes (2006)

A Lot of Balls (2006)