Art in the Environment, Cornwall

contemporary art in the environment - intervention in the landscape, St Ives, Cornwall

Coloured cord on granite boulder, Cornwall. 2017

The simplicity of construction of this piece is important. The observer will hopefully notice the almost total lack of endeavour required to create the work, while also noticing the (hopefully) relatively high aesthetic payoff as a result of that endeavour.

A lot of land art and other art in the environment strive to use only natural ingredients in the composition of the art, good examples being the work of Richard Long and Andy Goldsworthy. This work however consciously uses artificial material in the form of nylon paracord.

In the work the placing of brightly coloured plastic into the environment refers partly to humanity’s imposition of artificiality onto the natural world. This is partly a message about the despoiling of the environment by our endeavours. The fact that the nylon cord has been simply laid on the boulder (which took the effort of a whole five minutes) helps to reinforce this message, as the cord acquires qualities associated with the detritus of our instant gratification throw-away consumer culture. The fact that the cord is plastic reinforces this further.  However, the brightly coloured plastic actually looks quite pleasing on the rock, so the work is also saying that humanity’s imposition of artificiality onto the environment may have a positive side to it, at least to us (but also that just because something looks nice doesn’t necessarily mean that it is).

In fact, where would we be without the artificiality that we impose on the environment? Hence some of the ambiguity in this piece.