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Aeneas Wilder

Longside Gallery
30 Jul–3 Nov 2011

Anticipation, a deafening clatter, dust, the smell of wood and finally applause – artist Aeneas Wilder kicked down his Longside Gallery work Untitled # 155 on Thursday 3 November. The sculpture was the first major UK installation by Aeneas Wilder, conceived especially for the Gallery.

Untitled # 155 was conceived especially for Longside Gallery and took nearly 200 hours to construct through the careful placement and balance of around 10,000 uniform lengths of Iroko wood, destined for parquet flooring. The work both references and challenges architectural space by providing an enclosed, seemingly safe structure for visitors to inhabit, but one that is loaded with the potential energy of collapse.

Wilder’s practice is rooted in the process and possibility of construction and the experience of the viewer. Working for days, the act of placing becomes a rhythmic labour, the structure gradually becoming apparent. Each work is completed through a ‘kick down’, a powerful act that brings the structure crashing systematically to the floor. A UK first, the kick down for Untitled # 155 took place on 3 November.

‘By limiting the creative act to one simple material, in ample supply, with clearly defined parameters, a door opens into a wholly unexplored creative territory.’

Aeneas Wilder

The process of renewal, both of the structures and, where possible, materials found locally, is an important aspect of Wilder’s practice and references a world in constant flux. Although the Untitled works are primarily an investigation into the possibilities of sculptural form and structure within given parameters, the relationship between existing and not existing, as witnessed by Wilder in the recent devastating earthquake in Japan, is one that interests the artist.

The Maquette for the End of the World (2011), shown in the side gallery, is Wilder’s imagining of the predicted event 4.5 billion years in the future made physical through sculpture. The wall drawing, which references a mandala, is a unit based diagram of measurement used by the artist as the starting point for many of his sculptures. Further works are also shown through film and
maquettes, including those made for the Aomori Contemporary Art Centre, Japan and the Bemis Centre for Contemporary Art in Omaha, USA.

Born in Edinburgh in 1967 Wilder trained at both Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee and Edinburgh College of Art. He is now based in Edinburgh and Japan and works extensively around the world.