What lies beneath
- Anke Nunheim
I just came back from New Zealand and found this great sculptural installation ‘What Lies Beneath’ from Wellington-based artist Gabby O’Connor. It shows her to be an adept explorer of the material and immaterial nature and qualities of gallery space. ‘What lies beneath’ was installed as 3 site specific responses, depicting the submerged part of an iceberg. The components are made from dyed and lacquered tissue paper and a light source – either natural or fluorescent.
For her an iceberg is a mysterious carrier of history and information. For ‘What lies beneath’ O’Connor is considering the icebergs that will eventually calve off the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica, carrying the frozen remains of Robert Falcon Scott and two of his crew members, who almost met their fateful ends at the South pole in 1912: ‘In Antarctica nothing decomposes, not even the bodies of heroes. Scott and his companions, all uncorrupted, are now about 28 metres below the surface of the Ross Ice Shelf, having been carried some fifty-six kilometers from the spot where they died. In about 250 years they will reach the edge of the shelf and ‘calve off’ into the Southern Ocean.’