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Sculptor Tim Shaw Serves Up Immersive Installation 'Beyond Reason'

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November 13, 2018 1:34 p.m.


Tim Shaw, artist

Beth Accomando, KPBS arts reporter

Related Story: Sculptor Tim Shaw Serves Up Immersive Installation 'Beyond Reason'


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

Northern Irish sculptor Tim Shaw has the first US exhibit of his immersive exhibit beyond reason at the San Diego Museum of Art PBS arts reporter batok Amando speaks with the artist and has him take us through two of the psychological charged installations.

Can you tell me how you first got interested in creating art as a 13 14 years of age. And you know at that time I was probably considered as quite a disruptive child as well. Teacher had the idea that I should work with some clay Ann's program on minds I thought would have great material to throw around the room. And I asked what what you want me to do with the clay and he said why don't you make some heads and. Body parts and. So I started creating these heads ands really as if by magic just fun to release with the.

Material and. Felt I couldn't really absorb myself in. In the creation of these heads that I made at the time. I felt at that time that. This is something. That I was I was going to be an artist. And I remember Coneheads and. Passing a bookshop and say a. Book in the window and the sculptor Auguste Rodin. Which I bought. And then Redd's. From one length of the street to the next time. As. There was really put in place in my mind. This is what I would be doing for the rest of my life.

And it's pretty much been up ever since.

I am. Tom explain what's behind you here. This is a robotic word holds the birth of Brecht clone. See you soon. Flash of separation ignites. The.

Dirt. It's really about using.

Modern day technology robotics and I to really analyze and to look at what it is to exists and to ask the big questions. It doesn't have the answers but. I would like to think that it certainly inspires thoughts and those questions are really about we know what is. What do we mean by the words the words when we say human spirit.

And what I really find fascinating about it is when he looks at you you feel kind of this weird humanity going on there.

So working on through the creative process of that I began thinking about well hard to create the form around the robots and you know what to reveal of the robotic structure and whatnot. And I arrived at this form. Through a process really of decisions that. You know in the end. It's fine to reveal the robotics because.

It's part of the work. It's an integration between sculpted form and robotics ends with that. Once we got it up and moving and saying things I began to realize that actually you know you can. Make these things. Have a sense of humanity. Not. To.

Be here.

And why is it important for you as an artist to have installation pieces like this that really engage in if it's not like you can just walk through here and take a look. You know take a look at this. It's you have to take some time to listen to what he's saying and to kind of. Take a moment to let yourself be engaged by this. I think actually from the beginning I've always tried to. The large projects of tried to make immersive in some way. That draws the viewer in.

And makes them walk around in amongst it.

So tell us the name of this piece and a little bit about it.

This is so such a possession. I mean it's 2012 and it's it figures in a room that are fabricated from all clothes and pillows on metal frames and the piece is really very much about what truth can be fabricated to suit the needs of those in power.

Talk a little bit about how this is actually installed here in the sense that when somebody comes in here rounding a corner and there's a door.

Yes so this you enter the gallery and you see a corridor in front with a light dim dim lit light bulb.

You walk down the corridor and you turn and there's a door that's ajar half open. The first image you see is that of what I call the blind Wissler that the left is the scenario where in the middle. Somebody has been hooded and tied up and they are surrounded by three other figures. The three other figures are doing something but you don't quite know what they're doing. Because there's no knife or gun. But you know that there's a sense of threat impending threat there and often the corner is another figure kneeling and tied around and then over in the other corner there's a man that.

Is looking overlooking a woman against the wall who appears to be drugged in some way. So there's a sense of ambiguity. In this in that in the whole atmosphere as well. But you know something something is going on that's not quite right and people actually get to walk through this.

It's not something you look at through the doorway.

Oh yeah yeah it's really important. That's you know again with a lot of work I create that it's experiential that you come into the room and you walk amongst these figures and the figures the scale of the figures is slightly larger than the average height of a person. So this is sort of an imposing aspect about them and talk about the sound element.

You were talking about how there's your hearing kind of outside the room.

Whenever I was creating this piece I commissioned a signed piece for it because I use sun in my work and when it was additions in the space I asked the assistant to turn it off and immediately I could hear the sounds of people on the street and outside beyond these walls.

And that seemed to me what the signs for this should really be about that within these walls. Something terrible. Could be happening whilst. Out beyond the walls normal life continues on. And so there's the separation. Between these two worlds and that separation is the two components the two worlds are not far apart. Neighbouring in fact.

That was artist Tim Shaw speaking with Beth Komando for a video of the installation go to Beths cinema Junkie blog at PBS dot org. Beyond reason it continues through February of next year at San Diego Museum of Art.