The burning of any Match Tree, which takes hundreds of hours to make, is not done lightly. It is a gamble that aims, through destruction, to create new and more versatile artworks. Test Bed aimed to lay bare this gamble and the artistic process through a three-stage exhibition/ event at the Union Gallery Project Room, Kingston, Ontario.
Stage 1: 23rd March - 10th April 2010: Union Gallery Project Room, Kingston, Ontario.
I presented a number of artworks and documents in the Project space to give a context to what I was making in the gallery. I wanted the audience ask: What in the exhibition is art and what is document? What has value and what does not?
Within these object an endurance performance took place between the 23rd March and 10th April, where, stopping only for toilet breaks and to answer visitors’ questions, I worked tirelessly to make a match trees in record time. While I worked and the gallery was empty I listened to audiobooks about economics and nature. Gallery visitors were asked to take 1 photograph of me working as they left the project room these images were used to make the montage of the building process that could be displayed in Stage 3.
Stage 2: Live Tree Burning 10th April 2010 7pm: NGB Studios Kingston, Ontario
Between the 11th and the 13th I took the footage and remnants from the Burning of the Tree event, and exhibition so far, and used them to make new artworks and exhibits for the Project Room. With the help of Troy Leaman from Modern Fuel ARC and photographer and printer Bill Weedmark, photographic prints and montages of the tree’s creation and destruction as well as and a multi-screen video instillation were produced. Original artworks and documents that were in the exhibition prior to the event (including videos and prints) were swapped for these, the charcoal remains of the tree as well as the tree building kits and tools.