Depth: 1.5m to 80cm (depending on rainfall)
Installation date: 2008
Set in the historic city of Canterbury, in association with Canterbury City Council, Alluvia is a sculpture consisting of two female figures, cast in cement and recycled glass resin. Positioned within sight of the Westgate Bridge and its adjoining gardens, the underwater sculptures lie along the river flow, submerged and fixed to the bed of the river Stour. At night the works are internally illuminated.
The title Alluvia relates to the alluvial deposits of sand left by the rise and fall of the rivers water levels. The Stour cuts through Canterbury, informing what could be described as a division between the past and present, between the old and the new city. The two contrasting figures are made from silica, an oxide of silicon, found in sand and quartz, the natural process of erosion questions the material properties of this widely used substance both highlighting and documenting the passage of time. The pieces also act as environmental barometers, algae accumulated on their surfaces are indicators of pollution within the county’s waterways from chemicals and phosphates used in modern agricultural farming.
The work draws reference to Sir John Everett Millais’s celebrated painting Ophelia (1851-1852). The pose of the figures and the materials used respond to the flow of water along the river and to the refracted colours of its fauna and substrate. As the surface tension and volume of water changes through the seasons, and the effects of light alter through the day, so what is seen of the sculptures changes. This fluctuation questions the stability of a material perceived to have permanence, and further challenges the recourse of memory, questioning how images and ideas constructed from fragments are presented. The work also encourages people to return to the site to recall and evaluate their altering experience of the work.
Materials: Cement, Glass resin, recycled glass
Size: 2 x 2100mm x 640mm x 350mm
Underwater lighting for the project was sponsored by: Primrose Water Features