This piece is a sculptural form I created for the opening exhibition at the Well Studios, Liverpool in May 2018 of the new artists’ collective Material Matters an inter-studio collaboration of Liverpool-based contemporary artists interested in exploring new, non-digital interactions with the material world.

Fosse- sculpture Elcock

Fosse (2018): cardboard and gesso

The origination of the work emerged as so often from serendipitous reading. It emerged into a dream…into witching-hour sketches at the kitchen table and the simple kernel of an idea. Ultimately a methodology was realised, into a form which literally ‘grew’ in the studio. At its heart was the re-purposing of discarded cardboard into something strange and possibly beautiful.

Essentially Fosse reproduces at 1:60 scale the extant subterranean passage underneath James St, whose purpose is thought to have linked the ditch (fosse) of the 13th century Liverpool Castle with the original shoreline of the Mersey at the current junction with the Strand.

15kg of recycled cardboard was used in its construction. These were laboriously assembled in strict sequence, in different orientations and hole-sawn to reveal an inner core along its entire length corresponding to the medieval tunnel. The sections were laminated with a true gesso. A section of the work also features an ochre gesso hand-tinted with ground pigment collected from a recently exposed source of Liverpool bedrock nearby, in this way inextricably linking the materials with subject matter.

The raw energy of the cardboard interior, as it disappeared in to the darkness, was surprising, revealing the material’s latent ability to express something of the possible reality of the passageway.

The entire piece was designed to be suspended and viewed at eye level. In the core’s dim interior a hidden media device provides glimpses of distant images suggesting modern ideas of ‘escape’.

Fosse was exhibited at Act 1 of Material Matters at The Well, Roscoe St, Liverpool 17-19 May 2018.

For further reading on the James St tunnel and Liverpool Castle follow this link.