Creating Fine Art From Death And Destruction

Kedleston Road campus 504x257 Creating Fine Art From Death And Destruction

Date posted: 7 June 2012

Real bullets 'frozen in time' and elegantly dressed bird skeletons are among the striking artworks on display in a new show by University of Derby students.

The free public exhibition by BA (Hons) Fine Art degree students - currently at the University's Markeaton Street site, Derby, until 12 June - is part of the University's annual Degree Shows of final year students' work in visual communications, film, photography, textiles, fashion, product design, architecture and many other subjects. It is held at Markeaton Street and the nearby Britannia Mill site annually.

Fine Art student Alasdair Evans' work - entitled .22 - required University Senior Technical Advisor Paul Marshall to fire 180 shots using a .22 calibre rifle into separate boxes of clay, at a safe facility. Paraffin wax and different coloured resins were then poured into the containers to make a permanent cast of each bullet's path, with the metal shot embedded at one end.

For his artwork, he then constructed a short corridor with the 180 bullet casts sticking out of its walls, down which visitors to the exhibition will walk.

Alasdair, 22, originally of Birmingham, said: "The corridor gets smaller and the casts more densely placed the further you walk down the corridor, giving a real sense of claustrophobia.

"What I've tried to do is give a physical sense of people being caught between two opposing armed sides; whether it's on the global scale of the Cold War or modern day street gang culture.

"I'm definitely not 'pro-gun' but the physics of firearms interests me and how you can use their destructive power to create art. I'd love to try this sort of thing with a much heavier calibre weapon, perhaps even a tank one day."

His partner and fellow Fine Art degree student Kelly Gare, 22, of Birmingham, has also taken a somewhat deadly route with her artwork, called Other Tidings (a play on 'tidings' meaning both 'bad tidings' and being the collective name for a group of magpies).

Sourcing the skulls of magpies and crows, birds seen as a 'nuisance' which can be legally culled in rural areas, she has created smartly dressed sculptures of groups of birds and placed them all around the exhibition.

Kelly said: "People often find birds strange, disturbing even; just think of Alfred Hitchcock's film The Birds. I wanted to create a reaction in visitors by making it hard to avoid these obviously dead birds, there are 19 altogether, which nevertheless are attractively dressed and grouped in ways which imitate human behaviours .

"Part of this is about making people think about whether it's morally acceptable to cull particular species of birds. There have been petitions against culling so-called predator birds like this as 'pests' and it's not something I personally agree with."

Other Fine Art works on display at the University's Markeaton Street site exhibition include:

  • an elegant chair and table, set for tea but covered in fine sand
  • a film about a man trapped in a phone booth
  • a grim depiction of urban decay captured in a photo series.

Denis O'Connor, University Lecturer in Art, added: "The overall quality of work for the Fine Art students' final year show this year is very strong.

"To create something out of an object as destructive as a fired bullet, as Alasdair has done, or weave a narrative in the way Kelly has done with her magpies, is extremely innovative."

Media requiring more information should contact Press & PR Officer Sean Kirby on 01332 591891 or 07876 476103, or email s.kirby@derby.ac.uk

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