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13 May 2010
Oil Stick Work
Art on the Underground and artist John Gerrard have now switched off Oil Stick Work at Canary Wharf Underground station. The digital projection has now completed its year at Canary Wharf Underground station. Watch this space for further projects at Canary Wharf later in 2011!
As part of a series of contemporary art projects for the Jubilee line, commissioned by Art on the Underground Irish artist, John Gerrard, is to present a large-scale installation of his work Oil Stick Work (Angelo Martinez / Richfield, Kansas) 2008 on a vast bespoke wall in the station.
Using customised game-design software to craft stunningly accurate virtual worlds, Gerrard projects a complex digital moving image that eerily develops in real time and will continue to do so over the next 30 years. The viewer joins this hyper-real scene three years into its slowly unfolding story on a desolate Midwest prairie.
At daybreak (PST), the tiny figure of Angelo Martinez, a Mexican-American builder, arrives at a solitary aluminium corn silo and carefully paints a perfect black one metre square on the exterior of the structure with an oil stick crayon. Working a six-day week, from dawn to dusk, Martinez will painstakingly paint the entire building, transforming it into a black void on the virtual landscape. On the 20th December Angelo will finish painting the first wall and at dawn (CST) on the 21st December will start a new wall. In 2038, he will complete the task and leave the scene.
The viewer is left in no doubt, Martinez could be anyone of us making a futile but resolute attempt to change the way things are, one stroke at a time. It’s no coincidence that Gerrard invites the commuters of Canary Wharf to watch the Mexican’s daily progress over the course of the year that his vast ‘virtual sculpture’ is on show at the station.