Monday, 30 January 2012

Distance and Proximity

On Tuesday 24th January 2012, Year 2 and Year 4 pupils from Holy Trinity Primary School returned to the Centre to make creative and playful enquiries into the current exhibitions, the conditions of garden in Winter and ideas around distance, proximity and reflection.

Raphael Hefti's work in Gallery 3, Subtraction as Addition, 2011 was really mesmerizing! Playing with trial and error in industrial processes Raphael has produced large panels of glass which vary in degrees of transparency, reflection and intensity of colour.

We sketched the panels and tried to show how they rest against the gallery walls, mirroring, framing and obscuring each other and little fragments of architecture: pulling parts of windows, walls and ceiling into unsettling planes and depths. How did these large panels of glass get into the building?

Outside we looked at how the rain gathered in puddles making low, horizontal mirrors reflecting the high bare branches of trees. Without leaves we could see through the tree canopies, further into the wild edges and the sky.

The ivy embankment seemed to double in size in reflections in the cafe's glass walls!

The Camden sign seems to be written in mirror writing! If you hold a mirror to the glass or this screen you can read it properly.

Inside, caught in the glass of an emergency exit door leading from the artificially lit stairwell to the garden, a reflection of a window seemed magically suspended high in the dull, grey sky beyond! If the sky had windows, what could we see through them?

In the studio, we talked about the story of Alice Through The Looking Glass and imagined what sort of adventures might lie beyond Raphael's glass panels. We looked at different mirrored surfaces, including "foggy" mirrors, "wobbly" video tape and soup spoons which reflected our faces upside down!

We made very simple periscopes to help find a sequence of words "hidden" on top of the cupboards. Out of reach and sight the words were revealed in small mirrors held on long sticks. The words were written backwards (just like the Camden sign on the glass in the garden) so that we could read them in the mirrors.

We discovered our eye is like a tiny convex mirror in our body, so we worked with partners to closely observe and draw one of their eyes and the reflections on it's surface. Holding small mirrors to the drawings we quickly created pairs of eyes.

Finally we built a tiny collage model of a section of the wild edges of the garden in Winter. In this model lots of trees and paths between trees are multiplied and magnified in a magical landscape that might play host to Alice or other wonders - such as the interventions that will be designed in future sessions in collaboration with architects and visitors to the Centre.