Onward and Upward

There were 5 staircases in the exhibition.

A concrete staircase reaching the height of, but not standing next to, a wooden table which was set in the centre of the room. These steps had been weathered, broken and repaired so that they manifested a passage of time.

The smallest staircase I could make by hand cut from an ebony piano key was mounted on a york stone plinth set in the middle of the wooden table.

A wooden staircase whose height was determined by the depth of its tread made from pieces of old wooden joists cut and stacked.

A smaller wooden staircase cut from a single piece of the same timber as the larger one, its height being determined by the thickness of the tread.

A staircase on the floor of a bathroom cabinet with a mirror on the door fixed on the wall at head height. The cabinet door was left ajar so that inside it the steps could be seen not quite reaching the shelf above, from which, in any case, there was no opening in the shelf by which to access the space beyond.
(Hackney Forge London 2004)

This is a scale model of a work proposed for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.

The stairs, though steep, are just big enough to climb, and therefore a practical physical connection is made between the viewer and the sculpture. The simple bold shape of the staircase is simultaneously inviting and intimidating, daunting and challenging.

The journey up seems just about possible from the ground, and yet increasingly precarious as the imaginary climber reaches nearer the top.

The architectural nature of the sculpture gives it a direct relationship with the buildings surrounding the square. It towers above the viewer close to and holds its own from a distance. It is an individual rather than part of a group; fragile and obstinate.

Ideally the sculpture would be built from stone, growing effortlessly from the plinth and tying in seamlessly with surrounding buildings.