In order to create this sculpture, Juliana Cerqueira Leite built a tall wooden column filled with nearly three tons of wet clay. Starting from the bottom of the structure, she then dug her way upwards using her hands – tunneling and climbing in the dark until she reached the top. Afterwards, a cast was made of the interior, and when solidified, the wet clay was excavated to reveal the positive form of her climb. It is a rough looking knobbly column, all over covered with protuberances which bear the forms of smeared fingers, toes, knees and elbows – a physical record of improvised handholds and footholds etc, used during it’s creation.
I am often quite partial to a really good process and this one of my favourite examples which I’ve come across. I think it’s really the physical immediacy of my imagination of that process which I like so much. I can so readily imagine the sensations of being wedged half-way up that dark chimney of wet clay slowly scraping away at the ceiling and I find these thoughts very appealing.
This work is currently on display (until June 2020) as part of Sculpture in the City, in the city of London.