Video with sound, 12 minutes,
and mixed media sculptural installation (‘a (mis)interpretation panel’), Folkestone, Kent
Adam Chodzko – Text on ‘Pyramid’ for Folkestone Triennial catalogue
“Looking back at the Leas Cliff from the tip of the longest rock jetty in front of it you can see a thick horizontal canopy of trees. Although, you don’t really see the trees. Instead what you see is the hole, the puncture mark made by the projecting balcony of the Leas Cliff Hall, like a wound from a splinter. Close up, underneath this structure is a stark space – a hole – which feels as though it shouldn’t be there, hovering instead from another time and space. Like those chambers of abrupt angles glimpsed under fly-over bridges as you drive along a motorway; Back-stage space (the shallow ‘real’ space left over from supporting an illusion), the start of an Inca temple, the entrance to a nuclear bunker, the legs of a pylon or cathedral buttress, a section of space ship…big things! I normally stay clear of pumped- up art objects but staring into this odd void I felt the need to respond by making a grotesquely large sculpture. But to do this without any materials and to build it using the structure of a half-sleep state.
The Leas Cliff Hall above is a large concert hall. Metallica and Roy Chubby Brown play there (separately). Under its overhang is a condensed amalgamation of architectural motifs, like the storage at the back of a Cecil B DeMille film set; classical columns, a wooden stockade and most strikingly, some structural supporting girders which inadvertently become the steel skeletons of four enormous pyramids. Ominously the pyramids are facing downwards. Bad luck! The town’s fortunes had been declining and on 28th April 2007 it suffered an earthquake.
I was wondering what this town collectively dreams at night.
I like the idea of art works that become so lugubrious with significance that they collapse. And too the notion that the destruction of a relationship in the future would somehow send out fragments into the present; tangible ruins having emanated from a fantasy about what happens next. Can ghosts enter the present from the future?
There’s nothing really there. Nothing to see.
So, I made a video that records an hallucinatory ritual that the town performs to lift the curse of the pyramid inversion. The pyramids need acknowledging; building out of a fantastic material, then inverting so that they point skyward, then celebrating this through a concert in the concert hall above, and then ritualistically destroying it all, dragging the pyramids’ remains out to sea so that nothing is left.
But all this could not occur without some kind of trace and there remains, beyond the video, some signage that indicates the marks in the landscape from this ‘party’; the remains of some glue, a twisted stone pine, a shattered rock…a few scars.
So, there’s nothing really there afterwards (or is this all set before?) apart from a (mis)interpretation panel that remains permanently sited in the place where the event took place. But perhaps there is a rumour growing, gossip that gets passed on about what happened in this place. Everything else is just a support structure for this myth. And perhaps that is the massive sculpture for the town, forming in the collective imaginations.
Hole, (2007), Around, (2007) and Pyramid, (2008) form a trilogy (with Echo, (2009), as a related work) presented as documentary accounts recalling events that took place in the recent past, yet, according to the present reality the circumstances for the event haven’t arisen yet (so, existing as a hyperstition or speculative realism). Each work seems to be both a critique of the institution and the limitations of art whilst also simultaneously becoming, through the artwork, the creation of a community’s sense of its identity and place through myth. In each work this process is catalysed by the interference of ‘an artist’ (nobody can remember the name) who has passed through, carelessly tried to do the right thing through their temporary intervention into place and community, but remained pretty oblivious to both the positive and negative impact of their actions.
Other permanent, site-specific sculptural works by Chodzko creating a mythology of place include Five holes from a Removed Sign (2007) (as part of Hole (2007)), Holding the Earth this Way (2022) and a way from heaven (2017-2022).
A Plan for a Spell (2001)
Because… (2013) [ installation at Tate Britain, 2013 ]
Better Scenery (2000 – )
Great Expectations (2015)
We are Ready for Your Arrival (2013) [ exhibition at Raven Row, London, 2013 ]
You’ll see; this time it’ll be different (2013)