The Monthly interviews Sara Cunningham-Bell – Part 2 – Public Sculptures

Part one of this interview is here

How do you end up being a creator of large scale public sculptures?

As a child I would query, how do you attach this object to that object, what does this material do, what will this shape look like besides this form? Those same questions emerge when you are an adult, aiming to be creative on a large, public scale.Your knowledge starts to layer up with regards to creative techniques and material qualities, so accessible concept options expand for an array of site-specific ideas.

Public sculpture provides that arena to play, safely, with a wide range of materials and apply to a set criteria yet with some freedom. A  personal aim is to create sculptures which offer the public the potential to engage in a dialogue with the work, to find ways to allow people the chance to rethink, consider and generate wonderment with the finished project..

I would imagine that working on public sculptures would be time consuming both in terms of the creative process and the bureaucratic process?

Yes, the bureaucratic process is certainly part of the requirements in order to get permission to display a large sculptural work. I am certainly glad that engineers are usually involved, I have certified welders who check all the welds, and there are other significant procedures which have to be followed because the work will be displayed in all weather conditions and we have to ensure that it is safe.

It might seem that these bureaucratic requirements can be quite rigid, and I do think bureaucratic approaches can sometimes miss the importance of the creative process, but ultimately they are not an obstacle because they are needed in order to produce and deliver work to high health and safety measures.

As one example of your work, there is a video on YouTube where a sculpture of an animal is decorated with meat and animals come to eat from the sculpture. Could you say a little about that work?

That was more of an installation and it was a welded sculpture of hounds running. I asked a butcher to save fat from cuts of meat in the butcher’s shop and I collected them and effectively put a skin of fat over the sculpture. We were able to observe the local animal life, crows, cats, dogs, other animals, eating the fat and interacting with that installation. That wasn’t a permanent public sculpture so the bureaucratic requirements for that were far less than the more substantial works I have been responsible for.

To see more of Sara Cunningham-Bell’s work click on the link below

Part three of this interview is here

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