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Detail showing lovely reflections in the sides of the canisters
Detail showing the French cleat arrangement. One half is part of the installation and the other half, supplied loose, is served to the wall.
Included in my solo exhibition Laugh Out Loud Nov/Dec 2019
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Black Hole Roundel
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Black Hole Roundel Sculpture

Derek Goldberg

United Kingdom

Sculpture, Found Objects on Steel

Size: 42.2 W x 42.2 H x 4.1 D in

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About The Artwork

This installation is the fifth in my series of unique art installations using discarded, laughing gas canisters (also known as Noz and Whippets). Approximately 1250 canisters have been used. They are glued into an acrylic painted wooden structure using certified MDF from a company with sustainable certification. The mounting arrangement is shown in one of the detail images and a substantial frame of red mahogany hardwood. All the canisters are washed and sprayed with an anti-rust spray. This particular installation was the first where I experimented with leaving space between rings of canisters and painted the inside of the holes black, hence the title and reference to the astronomical term. It is also the first installation where black and white have been featured, a theme that continued into the next few installations. In my recent solo exhibition Laugh out Loud, featuring 11 canister art installations, this piece was very well received. The installation weighs approximately 30kg and can be lifted by two people. It can be hung from a plaster-board wall as is the case in my studio. The support arrangement uses a "French cleat" On the back of the installation is a 45 degree angled support and I will supply the matching baton to go on the wall. This shown in one of the detail images. This arrangement allows the piece to be moved a bit sideways either way very easily and is very strong. All my future heavy installations will use this method. The mounting arrangement also gives the impression of a floating frame. All the canisters have been picked up my me, supportive friends and willing street cleaners from the gutters, car parks and parks of London. This art is helping the environment, reducing litter and saving these from land-fill sites and the street cleaners do not separate them for metal recycling. The canisters are extensively used as a "legal high" with little regard for, or ignorance of, the medical evidence of risk to mental health. Some deaths have been directly attributed to extensive misuse. Repair kit - the canisters are glued in using Gorilla Grab glue. If not disturbed they will stay permanently in position. People are very drawn to touch and if any become loose, the hole can easily be cleaned out and the canister reglued. I will supply a few spare canisters as well.

Details & Dimensions

Sculpture:Found Objects on Steel

Original:One-of-a-kind Artwork

Size:42.2 W x 42.2 H x 4.1 D in

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While I have dabbled in art since my early 20s, I have only now, in retirement, been able to devote myself to it passionately. I am fortunate to have found studio space in northwest London, which has helped unleash my creative potential, enabling me also to work on some large installations. I was born in Zimbabwe, moving at age 10 to Cape Town in South Africa where I lived until I moved to the UK in my mid 20s. I had an intensely creative period from 1976 until 1980, but a career in engineering combined with bringing up three children meant that I had little time or space to pursue art. In retirement I have rekindled my love affair with art and am enjoying it immensely. I would define myself essentially as an abstract artist, a colourist, with particular focus on the pop art and optical art genres. I am currently creating what, I believe, are unique installations using spent laughing gas canisters. These small steel canisters contain nitrous oxide and are used amongst young people as a recreational drug, a means of obtaining a legal high. I now have a team of canister pickers, both friends and street cleaners, who pick up canisters for me from gutters, parks and car parks. So far I have incorporated more than 20,00 canisters in my art installations which means that more than half a ton of steel has been saved from landfill. I continue to work with oil on canvas, and have recently started using acrylics on wood and handmade paper. I view abstract art from the perspective of whether it is visually pleasing to me personally, and whether I would like to see it on my wall, rather than analysing the meaning. My inspiration has come largely from early 20th century artists such as Picasso, Miro, Klee, Kandinsky, Chagall and Modigliani, and more recently from artists such as Hockney, Basquiat and Johns. I particularly admire the work of recently deceased artist Gillian Ayres RA, who made a point of only being interested in colours and shapes, rather than trying to achieve a meaning. She simply had fun painting and embraced colour in a very special way.

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