Gerrard is someone I've been meaning to blog about for some time now. About 5 years ago he cisited the university as a guest lecturer to discuss his working practice, and in particular his work in progress at the time entitled "The Ladder."
Gerrard works with interactive elements with the majority of his pieces forming some form of installation. "The Ladder" featured a physical ladder leaning against the wall of the gallery, propped against a high window, a window through which the viewer could not see. In front of this set piece was a video display, depicting the same ladder, but with a virtual character at the top looking out. This character would then describe what he was seeing through the window. An interesting play on perception / trust / and virtual design.
The piece was displayed as part of ARS Electronica in 2005, and I was there to see it. If I'm honest it didn't really work for me, the way John had explained it months previous left me rather disappointed with the end product. Regardless of this I still find the whole project fascinating.
Since then Gerrard has continued working on a number of different projects, none of which i've actually seen, but maybe this is the best way for me to enjoy his work. From his website examples of these new projects can be found.
One that stands out in particular is his most recent piece "Animated Scene"
"John Gerrard Animated Scene is a collateral project at the 53rd International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia. It will be inaugurated on June 4, 2009, and remain open to the public from June 7 - September 30, 2009.
Animated Scene will present three new works as large-scale projections. Each work introduces a virtual scene - astonishingly real but entirely and meticulously fabricated by the artist and his studio between 2007-9 - based on documentation of the agri-industrial landscapes of the American Great Plains, scattered with grain silos, pig production units and small towns.
A fourth work from the same series will be shown concurrently at the Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, as part of Infinitum, the final part of a trilogy of exhibitions mounted by Axel Vervoordt which began in 2007 with Artempo: When Time Becomes Art.
The project is curated by Jasper Sharp, curator and writer, and Patrick T. Murphy, Director and Curator of the Royal Hibernian Academy."
I just love the vastness of this installation. It's simple, stripped setup, yet with a grand possibly overwhelming appearance.