Michele Horrigan        bio / contact

Artworks

What A Feeling!

Stigma Damages

Apex

Dantes Rock Phase

Purgatory

In Ruin Reconciled

Conspiracy

Nature Obscured by Factory / Factory Obscured by Fog

A Very Reliable Performer

Whooper Swan

Beeves Rock

Abandoned

 

Apex

2013

video, cast aluminium sculpture, archival image

The original apex of the Washington Monument weighs 100 ounces,

and was put in place on December 6, 1884. It was the largest single

piece of aluminium cast at the time, measuring 22.6cm x 13.9 cm, at

a time when aluminium was the most precious metal in the world.

The ceremony for the placement of the aluminum apex appeared as

a sketch on the front page of the Washington Post on December 7, 1884.

While the art of photography was well established by 1884, gale force

winds and driving rain at the 169 meter platform level precluded the

taking of an actual photo, and an artist's sketch of the event had to suffice.


Two years later, the Hall-Heroult process made it easier to produce and

the price of aluminium plummeted, de-appreciating the symbolic and

material value of the apex upon this symbol of the American state. The

placement of the apex in Washington was symbolically derived from

the vocabulary of freemasonry and the idea of an all-seeing eye, a way

of casting a net over all the activity below it, in the form of an imperialist

overview.


Yet, in a time before its installation the apex was put on public display

in the window of Tiffany’s jewellery store in New York and could be

viewed over by visitors who could later say they had "stepped over the

top of the Washington Monument.”


Thinking about this inversion, I cast a replica of the apex during

a residency at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in 2013. This object

was subsequently placed inside a jewelry store window in Galway

with images of the casting process viewed in a gallery closeby. The

artwork aims to suggest that skill sets from the foundry become ways

of resistance to forms of commodity and hierarchy.