Work: Blind Refuge
Construction: Stainless steel
Size: 1100mm x 1150mm x 2800mm
Highly polished stainless steel in the form of a one person pup tent is Chris Hargreaves’ Blind Refuge. The exceptionally reflective material is moulded in shape to imitate lightweight, flexible materials such as canvas and nylon that are used in the manufacture of tents. The sculpture equates also to the size of a one person pup tent – one metre wide by 2.4 metres in length. Hargreaves’ tent becomes a mirror surface for its setting; it mimics the surrounding environment. Thus the work gives the visual impression of being constructed from the material around it.
Throughout his oeuvre Chris Hargreaves explores the idea of taking a familiar object and exploring how it appears to change depending on the context in which it is placed. He is interested in the way a familiar object can be changed when it is moved into an unexpected situation or presented in unforeseen circumstances. In Blind Refuge Hargreaves is drawing on our memories evoked by the pup tent and through these he explores uneasiness brought on by the recontextualization of the tent. In doing so he bases his idea on John Mulgan’s Man Alone. The one person pup tent, suggestive of the individuality and isolation of Mulgan’s principal character, collides with nostalgic memories of leisure filled summertime camping. Through this the artist explores notions of truth and nostalgia, the way that people interact with and build relationships for material objects – and how this can alter what we perceive to be real or genuine.