Saturday, 3 November 2012

Art: Axis @ 21 - Tony Stallard

As part of our 21st birthday celebrations, Axis has caught up with members who have benefited from opportunities provided by our site.

After responding to an opportunity posted on Axisweb, sculptor Tony Stallard tells us about his recent commission ‘Ghost in the Machine’: a light-based sculpture to be permanently exhibited in the Playhouse Theatre, Harlow.

The piece, which was commissioned in November 2011, is a work which ‘plays with the nature of the theatre and its past’. Stallard explains that the work, which is constructed in steel with pulsating LED lights, will incorporate a depiction of a harlequin entering the Playhouse ‘in an ethereal way, as a reflection of the theatre and its relationship with its public - both now and of the past.’

The history of theatre and the history of the Playhouse have played a key role in informing Stallard’s latest work, noting that it ‘suggests the strange and almost surreal joining of the past and the present, and in particular the nature of the Playhouse and its contemporary environment.’ He hopes that the work will serve to highlight ’the theatrical legacy evolving from its ancestry (in every sense of the word) which is particularly important in Harlow and its roots in pantomime.’ Indeed, the audience’s metaphysical response to the work is key to the sculpture’s effect, with its pulsating lights suggesting a hidden, ethereal world. Stallard explains: ‘This is particularly true in this case as the work would seem to emanate from the back of the theatre and suggest a ghostly presence, or a kind of echo from the interior.’

‘Ghost in the Machine’ is currently being produced, with the aim of being installed by the end of 2012.

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