Lily Krempel (she/her)
My sculptural practice is intuitively informed by my love of objects and object making. I am interested in the history of both functional and decorative articles; tools, ornaments and mechanisms. I am guided by a perception of all objects existing as artefacts made by humankind; physical remnants of the ephemera of thought, invention, intention and the labour of hands, process and machine. As maker, I like to incorporate measurements of my own body, the number of my age at the time of making and geographical measurements of lived experiences into my sculptures. I am particularly interested in reimagining objects which facilitate an interaction/intervention between human being and the ‘natural’ world.
My work exists in an ambiguous non-era, but speaks to age-old practices of map making, geometry, metalwork and drawing. My sculptures take on ritualistic and performative elements through their function, kinetic nature and movement across sites. My practice is equally led by my intentions for a viewer to experience the artwork; I am interested in the innate essence of the emotional sensation of the ‘Sublime’, of awe and quality for magic.
Walking the Dark Map
My degree show space tells the story of a site-specific work.
In the absence of ritual, I formed my own. A walk following a map of specific moments and sites overlaid on new land, geometrically plotted, measured by the degrees of my compass and by my footsteps. Wearing my metal structure flat-packed and fitted upon my back, I carried the sculptures. At the last site, I laid down a fire.
The space holds the remnants of the work, sculptural props for a happening; the fire-dials upon their structure, charred Scots pine and silver birch, a spider’s web, my backpack with spiked feet for their structure, a map with compass readings and footsteps and a video filmed at Lochan Mor, ‘Lily Loch’ made with the help of my mum, Martha.
The dials are so named as they exist as a piece of equipment for rotation. A traditional dial is spun on a telephone or tuned to select a radio frequency or read to tell the time. The fire-dials revolve as they trace the fire; its size, the direction of wind current, the rising temperature of airflow.
In the making of these ‘fire-dials’ I used the compasses and measuring tools that belonged to a beloved friend who passed away. The tools with which we work, give rise to the art. Cut from steel sheets, the shapes have become weaponry designed to slice through darkness.
The sensation of darkness is tangible in the body. Grief, in its many forms can feel like this. A sense of bearing the weight of an unshifting shadow.
I am inspired by memories of my grandmothers Christmas pyramid candle ornaments. The origin of the delicate kinetic candle decoration dates back to the Middle Ages. It was traditional in southern and western Europe to bring evergreen branches, into the home and hang them in order to ward off gloomy, sullen feelings through the dark and cold winter months. In northern and eastern Europe traditional candles were used to achieve this goal. The Christmas pyramid unified these two traditions, consisting of handcrafted kinetic elements hanging over a network of candles. A symbol of Winter celebration; a vessel for uplifting the spirits.
To aid the mobility of my work, I designed and built it to be flat-packed. In order to carry my metalworks across site, I constructed a frame from ash to wear upon my back with small steel fittings, ash dowels and specifically sized holes in the wood to hold and piece together the metal structure in their separate balanced parts. It was important to me, that I carry the work, the weight of it, the movement of it. I was inspired by the functionality of timber structures and baskets worn by people of mountain communities across the world used to carry belongings and food to their locality.
‘Fireflight’ at the Hidden Gardens
‘Fireflight’ was a two week-long exhibition from the 23rd of February to the 6th of March hosted by the Hidden Gardens in Govanhill, Glasgow. The exhibition comprised of three works of art by Sculpture & Environmental Art students; Ciaran Cannon, Lily Krempel & Chiara Mancini. Ciaran exhibited four insect sculptures sculpted from wood of well-managed forests: pine, oak and walnut, their wings, legs and antennae made from scrap metal found on an ex-industrial site by the Clyde. Chiara installed a bird feeder, designed keeping in mind recent discoveries about bird’s vision, such as their ability to see UV colours and their eye for symmetry. The feeder is decorated with a UV pattern that is only visible to birds.
The premise for our collaborative exhibition was to bring people together in the cold of February and March in the sanctuary of the gardens; to bring awareness to the ecology of the site; the insects, birds and wildlife of the Hidden Gardens and to hold space for a relationship to the ‘natural’ world drawing together the ecosystem of the garden, its visitors, local people and students of the Glasgow School of Art.
I spent five days accompanying our sculptures in the space of the woodland glade where the old tram tracks draw out from the gallery to the back of the hidden gardens. I watched as gusts of storm heaved with meteorological might at the soaring trees. The mammoth birches with wavering spines, forearms and fingers akimbo filled my view of Glasgow’s sky. If the winds breath whipped at the right height, the whirl of my ‘Dials’ would commence, momentarily spinning before that flock of air would cease to occupy the ether. With wind, came rain and hail, followed by the charms of soft white snow. The February cold seeped up from the chilled earth, crept under the skin of my steel-toe capped boots and settled snuggly in my muscles.
My desire for the artwork in the garden was to disrupt the darkness of the time of year, to ignite our human yearning for light, our draw to warmth and to inspire awe for magic. At lunchtimes in the woodland glade I lit fires beneath the structure of the dials, activating the sculpture-work. The heat from the fire and smoke causes hot air to rise above cooler air, creating an airflow. If strong enough, it is directed in-between the segmented dial vents which in-turn revolve the steel spinning dials.
People gathered and shared poetry, stories and music by the fireside. On Friday Otis Jordan and Fin Rosenbaum performed an interactive drumming on the sculpture-work, Jameela Gordon-King read poetry and Isabel Coulier hosted a written fire gathering. Further poetry and music was shared by Arthur, Paul and Alan. On Saturday Maria Makaroff played the flute. On Sunday Rowan Bazley and Maria Domingue played a duet on the flute and guitar.