Artist biography

British installation artist. She studied at Kingston Polytechnic (1984–5), and Goldsmiths College, London (1985–8). A core aspect of her work is change and transformation. Both the ephemerality and site-specificity of all her work make it notoriously difficult to document. Gallaccio is careful to discard all the material related to an installation once it has closed and resists photographic documentation; in this sense her work is anti-monumental, unconcerned with a legacy outside the memories of those who witnessed it. For instance, Prestige (1990), an installation at Wapping Pump Station comprising 24 kettles, compressed air shrieking through holes that had been drilled in them. The powerful feeling of pain and loss evoked was impossible to document and difficult to repeat in another venue. Gallaccio followed her fascination with the disused pump station at Wapping in the 1996 installation, Intensities and Surfaces, in which she left a 32-ton block of ice to melt in the boiler room. The title of this work points to the extreme qualities (hot/cold, solid/liquid, immutable/transient) that are at play. Gallaccio has cited the strong influence of the Arte Povera group, figures such as Michelangelo Pistoletto, Jannis Kounellis and Marcel Broodthaers, on her use of materials and conceptual concerns.

Broken English (exh. cat., essay A. Graham-Dixon, London, Serpentine Gal., 1991)
Chasing Rainbows (exh. cat., Glasgow, Tramway, 1999)

10 December 2000

Article provided by Grove Art Online