San Mei Gallery is pleased to announce Obelisk, a site-specific, architectural-scale installation by F.O.A.M., a collaboration between Laurence Lumley and Rory Sherlock.
F.O.A.M. have transformed the gallery into a building-site for an obelisk under construction. This is one stage in the ongoing project of a monument always yet to be built, in a constant state of emerging and recycling. Two full-sized segments of the whole, the base and the point, fill the space from floor to ceiling. As the show progresses the segments will be ripped apart into pieces and reconfigured into other forms for various events. Some material is always being lost in the process, some new material has to be added, the majority is re-used. In its next iteration the same pieces will be patched together again in another attempt at the obelisk.
This is a strange kind of monument. It emerges out of the hyper-systematized, highly wasteful and financially driven context of contemporary construction and its ruthless cycles of demolition and development. While its form is reminiscent of an ancient, massive structure, somewhere between an obelisk and a ziggurat, it is built – or rather slapped together – from the lightweight ‘junk’ materials of modern construction. Crude, primitive, and incomplete, the fragments on display nonetheless have a kind of visceral beauty and an unsettling presence of their own.
Once the show is over, Obelisk will serve as a kind of quarry of ‘raw material’ for a 1:1 making workshop with architecture students in the new year, and those pieces will in turn be re-collected as a future resource for another version of the obelisk later in 2022.
Every iteration forever provisional, always a resource for the next attempt.
“Foil-backed lightweight foam – polyiso-plastic trash. But there’s gonna be more and more of it about, so we’ve learnt to love it, and now we can relax.” – F.O.A.M.