Counting Clouds

Counting Clouds

 

During the second year of my fine art degree I fell in love with the weather! By this I don't mean I loved sunbathing or jumping in puddles, instead I loved the idea of man made weather effects.

I found the ephemeral nature of the weather so romantic, I loved the idea of recreating weather simulations for display in a white cube space. I began really focusing on something so beautiful that we see everyday yet never take the time to properly look at! The idea that most intrigued me was that it can never actually be done (not properly).

Obviously one can not use the word Weather and Art in the same sentence without mentioning the legend that is Olafur Eliasson!

For those of you who aren't familiar with his work he is the amazing artist who basically put the Sun in the Tate Modern!

installation view olafur eliasson the weather project

Olafur Eliasson ‘The Weather Project. Turbine Hall, 16th October 2003- 21st March 2004.
He did several other weather related installations however this one is the one he is most known for!
Personally my favourite Eliasson installation is actually a rainbow piece called Beauty, but I will get to that later.

Another artist that greatly inspired my work during this time was Marielle Neudecker. Neudecker creates truly romantic three dimensional dioramas that are utterly magical and mysterious.

They are described as theatres of unconsciousness and they are full to the brim with submerged worlds that are surprisingly proportioned to the work of Friedrichs romanticism paintings.

neudecker ship

I love Marielle Neudecker’s tank work because not only are they beautiful but she effortlessly pulls off an incredible illusion with each and every one of these small worlds.
These sealed tanks of magic are in fact only the size of an average fish tank. Yet when closely observed they don't feel like small tanks at all and instead these miniature miracles make the viewer feel like they have been confronted with entire realms!

I became fascinated in the romantic element between ephemeral man made clouds and the artistic displacement of glass vitrines. I am aware these are slightly odd things to put together but I loved the idea of displaying something so ephemeral in glass.

I use Vitrines or tanks because they create a three dimensional window to an alien landscape, this enables the viewer to be less aware of their own size in relation to the sculpture.
“it is used like a tool which intends to detach the entity under inspection from the outside world and governing laws and as such it abides by the rules of artist displacement”
Anna Walton Artist Video

One of my favourite weather sculptures that married both simulated weather and glass tanks was a piece called every cloud.

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Every Cloud. Mixed Media: Glass, Nitrous oxide capsules, water vapour, light.
‘The experience I want the viewer to have when looking at my work is one that absorbs them and perhaps causes a moment of daydream and escapism, much like one gets from staring out a window on a rainy afternoon’ Anna Walton (Taken from Second Year Artist Video)

Chasing rainbows!


During my third year I became fascinated with rainbows. Rainbows are beautiful however there is so much more to them than the aesthetics. I started making and documenting rainbows using the sunlight. I created a portable machine using a small pump, a nozzle and some plastic tubes that I could just turn on and it would produce a continuous supply of water vapour, I called it my ‘Portable Rainbow Maker’.

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Here is a picture of it in action

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As long as the sun was shining I could make rainbows wherever I went.
The only downfall was that I couldn't make them inside or in the dark, I decided I wanted to make rainbows in my room so I turned to Beauty!
I love Beauty! Beauty is a rainbow, well it was actually a piece made by Olafur Eliasson. As I mentioned earlier it is actually my favourite Ellison installation.

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Olafur Eliasson, Beauty, 1993. Spotlight, water, nozzles and hose, dimensions variable.
With Beauty, Eliasson created a rainbow using light and water vapour. When the viewer entered the room they saw a unique rainbow and as our eyes are not all located in the same place there was never a rainbow that was the same by definition. This meant that this artwork was really individual for every viewer and that the way the viewer engaged with the piece had a huge impact in the experience that they took from it.

I started trying to source ways of making an indoor rainbow installation, my aim was to combine a rainbow installation with a glass tank and essentially trap a rainbow inside a huge glass box!

I started playing around with polychromatic light sources. I raided scrap heaps and collected car headlights and car batteries. At one point I blacked out my room and hung car headlights from the ceiling which I wired to a car battery, I used pumps and nozzles to experiment making rainbows in my room, but I will elaborate on that another time! I had passed counting clouds and I had now began chasing rainbows!

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I think the simplest way to explain what fascinated me so much about man made weather effects were that realistically it is one of the only things that we truly can not accomplish. Man made nature is really a double negative and the impossible practicality of it is the part that intrigues me the most!

This is a quote written by yours truly that was used as the ending to my Second year artist Video. (I was talking about my rainbow in a box)
“I hope that it shows how mankind works and struggles to try and achieve perfection and even though perfection is unobtainable- humans will always try to obtain it!” Anna Walton

 

Written by : Anna