Concrete, mesh, builder’s trugs, chains, water, scaffolding pole,
steel cable and fixings, cable ties
1:2:4 refers to the cement/sand/aggregate concrete mix used in the construction of the work’s catenary arch. This engineering form is particularly strong in that it converts the forces of gravity into pure compression, thus mirroring the catenary curve a chain naturally forms (through tensile forces) when held at either end. The arch itself was cast as part of a group workshop that I ran (with Marsha Bradfield and Lucy Tomlins) at the Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre in 2013 and was used to demonstrate the load-bearing capacity of the structure (the formwork and casting taking place over just two days).
The workshop began with suspending the chain incorporated into the final design, in order to determine the shape of the curve. Reimagined for the ‘Object as Measure’ exhibition at Chelsea College of Arts Triangle Gallery in 2014, the arch held six builder’s trugs filled with water, the combined weight of which was 250 kg. The language of the materials used playfully refers to materials typically found on a building site – including the trugs used for carrying sand or aggregate – while the considerable weight of the water is registered by the bending of the scaffolding pole.