Nigel Hall

Plateau Marker 1


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Not on display

Nigel Hall born 1943
Plastic and aluminium
Object: 3048 × 4115 × 914 mm
Purchased 1971

Catalogue entry

Nigel Hall b. 1943

T01405 Plateau Marker I 1970

Not inscribed.
Painted aluminium and plastic, 120 x 162 x 36 (305 x 409 x 91.5).
Purchased from the artist (Winifred Evans Trust Fund) 1971.
Exh: The artist’s studio at 1 Cahill Street, July 1971 (works not listed in catalogue).

Nigel Hall made several sculptures in 1970 which hang above the head of the spectator: T01405, ‘Plateau Marker III’ and ‘Sepia I’. They are not structurally related to the floor, unlike previous or subsequent works such as ‘Stone Lake’, 1968, or ‘Sepia II’, 1970. The appearance of Plateau Marker I’ relates to that of Plateau Marker III’ but the numbers do not imply a series. The sculpture is the first in an edition of three: the second belongs to the Nicolas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, the third is in the artist’s collection.

The artist wrote (30 March 1972): ‘The piece is suspended from the ceiling and, depending upon the volume of the room in which it is shown, the lowest point varies between nine and ten feet from the ground. Spatially, the sculpture lies within a single plane. However, as the spectator walks around the work, the three elements which constitute it establish a complex three-dimensional relationship. Due to the nature of the configuration, movement around the piece brings about a strong, dynamic metamorphosis in the sculpture. Its volume expands and contracts, and moving under it, an overhanging slice of space is realised. The suspended nature of the work and the way in which its suspension lines are seen as extensions of the more solid parts, naturally bring about a direct reference to the ceiling. It is very much my intention to create an awareness of an overhead area of space, at times somewhat oppressive, forming a remote spatial zone.’

‘The solid elements of my sculpture arc intended to release the volumes of space and spatial intervals; working, in a sense, as visual catalysts rather than as independent, linear marks in space. In this piece the individual elements have specific-spatial roles. For instance, the vertical rod, a luminous blue-grey in colour, acts as a plumb-line defining the natural vertical axis, not only of the piece but also of the spectator and the whole spatial environment. Its colour, form, and position in space relate to and articulate the other component colours and shapes. A bridge is formed between this vertical colour and the denser brownish, horizontally-based shape, which incorporates in itself changes of direction and speed, a sort of microcosmic module of the whole piece. A gravity-activated spatial expansion is made visual by the incisive colour (silver) and thinness of the rod which links the vertical and horizontal forms. Its weight presses down towards the floor and above it a wedge of space is compressed. The materials used in my sculpture are chosen for their lightness and for specific physical function. Therefore, I take great care in choosing aluminium tubing of exactly the right wall-thickness as well as outside diameter which allows an exact amount of curvature. For parts which need to be rigid, polyester resin is more suitable. Colour is applied on all surfaces to meet particular visual needs as well as to unify any inconsistencies in the materials used.’

‘I work from numerous configurational possibilities which are noted down in a drawn visual short-hand. I also make drawings which form a separate branch parallel to the sculpture, stemming from a common conceptual source. One activity aids the other in clarifying my ideas, but they are autonomous activities.’

‘The title “Plateau Marker I” was chosen because the spatial construction of the work is evocative of the high plateau on which the Mojave Desert in America is situated, where I spent much of my time during my stay in Los Angeles between 1967–69.’

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1970–1972, London 1972.

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