Periodic table

Wilson, Keith (2007) Periodic table. [Artefact]

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A commissioned centrepiece sculpture for The Wellcome Trust’s new museum in Euston. Wilson’s sculpture (4m x 9m x 9m) is installed in mid-air in their central atrium area, in a lightwell connecting the ground floor galleries with those on the first floor. Periodic Table is a sculptural installation commissioned by the Wellcome Trust. Housed within each of the galvanised steel cubes are ‘elements’ of Wilson’s practice – small studio works that together comprise a form of retrospective. Overall, the installation playfully subverts systems of measurement and control. In purely sculptural terms the piece tests the limits of what an object can be asked to represent – from the level of the individual units to that of the piece overall. Different organisational logics are at play in this work: some parts have relationships with the chemical elements they represent, others formally echo their neighbours vertically or horizontally. Some parts refer to former works by Wilson, or echo studio activity. This spiralling out of hermeneutic possibilities is itself an echo of the twisted form of the work overall. There is a neatness here in the placing of the lanthanide and actinide series where they are found - which is the starting conceit for this three dimensional model - rather than in their more usual location (in appendix form). The piece is fabricated in the language of the farmyard, an agrarian structure to house what is an essentially urban conceit. An earlier version of Periodic Table premiered as part of the Milton Keynes Gallery exhibition. In the context of The Wellcome Collection, a multi-million pound new museum in the heart of London, it simultaneously manifests and ridicules the urge to collect and to categorise. Periodic Table, Wilson’s first permanently sited work, is a central work to greet visitors, wrapping around the museum’s main spiral staircase. It was funded by a £70,000 commission from the Wellcome Trust.

Item Type: Artefact
Additional Information: Located at the Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE.
Subjects: University of Westminster > Media, Arts and Design
Depositing User: Miss Nina Watts
Date Deposited: 07 May 2008 13:14
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2009 14:10

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