James Rigler made a series of sculptural interventions into Hospitalfield’s grounds and rooms; drawing out of his research into the history of stone carving and the use of stone as a conflicted architectural material from grand houses to hermits’ shelters. The project, entitled THE DANCING STONES, was presented for our Autumn Season in 2016.
James Rigler is a sculptor who borrows and subverts techniques used in industrial processes. He often makes precise handmade objects which have an architectural or factory-made look. For Hospitalfield, James has combined these skills with the use of mass produced materials. He used metal structures and plastic marble manufactured for use as domestic surfaces to make three works: Sham Arch, False Wall, Marble Bench.
He is interested in the various histories and associations of these materials; some thought of as precious and of high quality, others considered low and inauthentic, perhaps because they are not hand made. The sculptures were situated both inside the House and in the grounds. The elaborate architectural stone carving, library reference books and the site’s connection to Walter Scott’s novel The Antiquary (which was published 200 years ago) have influenced this new work. Hospitalfield was a place of inspiration for Monkbarns, a key location in The Antiquary and the poetic title for this project, THE DANCING STONES, comes from the concluding line of Scott’s description of Monkbarns:
“Secluded from the town by the rising ground,… the house had a solitary and sheltered appearance. It was an irregular old-fashioned building, some part of which had belonged to a grange,… inhabited by the bailiff of the monastery, when the place was in possession of the monks. It was here that the community stored up the grain,… and hence, as the present proprietor loved to tell, came the name of Monkbarns. To the remains of the bailiff’s house, the succeeding lay inhabitants had made various additions in proportion to the accommodation required by their families; and, as this was done with an equal contempt of convenience within and architectural regularity without, the whole bore the appearance of a hamlet which had suddenly sat still when in the act of leading down one of Amphion’s, or Orpheus‘s, country dances.”
Born in New Zealand, James Rigler trained at the University of Brighton before completing an MA in Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art. In 2013-14 Rigler did a six-month residency with the V&A Museum and his work is included in their collection as well as within the collections of the Crafts Council and Chatsworth House. In 2014 he was the recipient of the European Ceramic Context New Talent Award.
In 2015 Rigler was part of our Hospitalfield in Industry programme, a partnership with Make Works, which included a month long residency and collaboration with stonemasons Fyfe Glenrock in Aberdeenshire.