Remnant Kings Transcript

Audio Transcript

Remnant Kings by Ian Randall
Duration: 03:40


These three massive cogs are the ‘Remnant Kings’ by Ian Randall, a sculptor who really likes to immerse himself in his environment. He certainly got that opportunity here.

Artist (00:12)
I had to apply for the site to put a piece of sculpture there and then I had to find a place to work (I had no where to work) I found a family across the river who said I could work in their garden and I had to apply for planning approval to put my caravan there, to live there as well. Three months later I could actually start working, but that was, in its essence what made it work because the local community really embraced me. I was living amongst them. I was cutting grass for them and all sorts of stuff.

His inspiration came from the areas textile heritage.

Well I first did the research into the environment and Irwell Vale was the village specifically built for the big mills just a little bit further down that have all been demolished. It’s all kind of connected with this notion of empire that was built by the cotton kings and all that had gone and what was left was a kind of remanence of that particular notion. Down the river there was a village there, there were these odd bits of loose gates and bits of mill left. I liked the idea of that remanence of bring these entombed kings back. So these large cogs with bobbins on them or drilling these kind of three kings (because there were three mills down there) and they were semi buried so they had been half excavated if you like so they were like burial tombs in a sense.

The general feeling of the work was to look like they were coiled up and inside within the carvings were these stones. So they look like they are about to rock forward and launch and open up these stones within it. A feeling of a new renaissance of ideas and feeling for the textile industry and I was kind of connecting with the tourist industry and the railway line and all that kind of thing and the idea that there is another life about to start.

The steel work itself weighed over a tonne.

It soon became apparent to me that this site that I had seen and decided to choose was completely inaccessible, only by foot and half way up a hill so I had to work out how I was going to get all this stuff here. I contacted the local reserve army and they said yes they would gladly come along but the regular army came along and they all came across in their best gear because they were expecting a photo opportunity in the middle of a precinct somewhere and they were dragged to the middle of this field on a really wet day so they had to strip off. They had to pay for their kit you see, but if I could work with the army again I would work with on a daily basis because it was just … an order was given and they just did it. No matter how difficult or painful it was. No questions, no complaints, absolutely getting wet through.

Living and working here made it a commission with a difference.

It was a successful piece for me, not necessarily just because the work worked well but because I was working in an environment amongst people. Often you get a commission, you visit a town, you might even spend a week there but it’s not really long enough to absorb everything about a place and the feeling of a place but working in Irwell and living in Irwell and spending nine months there, you just get that feeling from things which feeds back into the work.

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