Clair Le Couteur remixes Warrington Museum with photography sculpture
Visitors to Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival will be able to see Warrington Museum as never before thanks to the work of a passionate PhD fine art student.
Clair Le Couteur believes the historic building, one of the world’s oldest municipal museums, has a unique and unusual story which deserves to be celebrated.
The artist and composer’s Roots Between the Tides is a combination of sculpture, diagram and catalogue; a network of about 200 images of the building, its archives and the town, suspended in the centre of the ethnology gallery.
It represents the complex links between Warrington’s ongoing industrial heritage, items from the collections and the museum itself, and features cutting-edge 3D steel printing technology in the form of twelve-sided dice produced by Warrington firm Croft Additive Manufacturing.
Clair said: “I honestly believe that Warrington Museum is a national treasure, a really under-recognised and super-important part of not only local and national heritage, but the whole world history of museums and collections.
“I have this impossible dream of telling all the stories of Warrington at once,” Clair added, and the sculpture goes some way towards achieving just that.
“It’s like a giant 3D game of Snap. It’s for children as much as adults: there’s going to be binoculars and a catalogue where you can look up the images so you can find the hidden connections yourself, or invent more of your own which you can then add to the catalogue through words or drawings.”
Clair describes Roots Between the Tides as a portrait of Warrington Museum, taking its name from one of the collection’s most famous paintings which depicts sea fishing.
“Fishing is sort of what I do with my research; I sail out into places and I have these little hooks, these things that I’m into, and I drag them through the collections, the archives, and then I see what comes up,” Clair added.
The Royal College of Art student said they were delighted to be exhibiting as part of Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival (WCAF), which runs until April 2017.
“For me being involved in WCAF is sort of a dream come true because I get to try out the system I’ve been developing, this research art system of photo-networks, on a truly amazing museum.
“I really hope there’s a bit of that wow factor, that it’s big enough to make people just stop and stare for a while, and think about just how amazing their museum is, how huge the collection is, how much incredible history Warrington has, with all these interconnected stories.
“And on top of that, I really hope that it encourages people to make connections for themselves; to realise that research isn’t a thing that you need some fancy qualification to do.
“You just have to be curious, to be enthusiastic, to love something and be interested in it. That’s why we’re also running some workshops for children in connection with the installation, because I really want to share that love of information that I have.
“Give children the truth; that things are connected in the most weird and wonderful ways; that they can find out so many interesting things for themselves; and maybe even discover things no-one knew about before.”
Roots Between the Tides is available to view at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery during normal opening hours which are Monday-Friday 10am-4.30pm and Saturday 10am-4pm, until April 2017.