chandelier, freezer unit, ceiling rose
Museum of Contemporary Art, donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Wendy Foard and Peter Bate, 2009
In The Door Was Open… a ball of ice gradually encrusts a chandelier, its glacial encroachment threatening to short out its branching filaments of light. The crystalline structure of the ice is mimicked in the cut-glass lustres which hang from it like icicles, making the graft between chandelier and freezer seem perfectly natural – two domestic appliances ‘at home’ with one another.
Powered by both electricity and a concealed refrigeration unit, The Door Was Open… is a poetic musing on humanity’s conflicted relationship to nature and natural forces and resources. Our dependence on electric lights, fridges and air-conditioners moderate our environments to make them more livable, even as their carbon emissions change weather patterns and make them more indispensible. In a reverse of global warming, it is the advance, rather than the retreat, of ice which will here engulf the fitting and short the lights. Glacial growth rather than melt threatens the existence of this chandelier, but the heat of the lights promises an effective check on the enveloping ice, suggesting that in this pairing of the elements there is at least a self-perpetuating equilibrium. Whether the ice grows on the chandelier like a parasite, or the chandelier grows out of the ice like a vine from its host, there is an intimation here of a beautiful and finely calibrated ecosystem hanging in the balance between the natural and the manmade.
Updated and approved August 2016.
I don’t think much about metaphysics, but I know that if I leave my fridge door open a small glacier will form inside! Much of my work either includes or implies a transformation taking place – or a state somewhere in between.
Nicholas Folland, ‘Interview with Nicholas Folland’, Art World, October/November 2008, p.132.
Born 1967, Adelaide, South Australia. Lives and works Adelaide.
Nicholas Folland is a sculptor and installation artist who reconfigures familiar household objects – such as soft furnishings, interior fixtures and whitegoods, found crystal and glassware – to create new and highly refined constructions. Folland has created numerous sculptures and installations referring to domestic interiors and to natural environmental processes and landscapes. Raft #1 (2005), for example, consisted of a full-scale bathroom that relentlessly overflowed with thundering water from every possible outlet, while Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite, Op.40: Air, played mournfully in the background. Other works have considered extreme locations within the landscape, often taking inspiration from tragic journals of failed exploration. These works include a series of internally heated granite boulders entitled Mt Hopeless (2001), and a number of ice-encrusted chandeliers beginning with I think I was asleep… (2003).
Folland won a Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship in 1999 and studied in the research program at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam, where he pursued an interest in constructed landscapes and developed a fascination for early travel narratives. Solo exhibitions include Hideout, Grant Pirrie, Sydney (2010); Without Reason, Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Canberra (2009); and solo shows at Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide (2008 and 2006). Group exhibitions include Tour de Force: In Case of Emergency Break Glass, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, NSW (2011); The New New, Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide (2010); Colliding Worlds, Samstag Museum, Adelaide (2009); Octopus 8, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne (2008); and To Be Confirmed, arc Biennale, QUT Art Museum, Brisbane (2007).
Folland was commissioned to create a work for Parallel Collisions, the 2012 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. He has also worked closely with the JamFactory Glass Studio in Adelaide and Canberra Glassworks to create cast objects from recycled crystal items.
Folland’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; and various university and regional galleries in Australia.Learn more