The title and inspiration for the work is taken from the lighthouse of Alexandria (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) and the mythical one-eyed giants of the Odyssey. The installation consists of two roughly human-sized, seated figures, constructed from a mixture of found materials (including pieces of vintage typewriters, roots and vines, antique mannequin parts, glass lenses etc.) – each with a wooden box head featuring a single lens, through which shines an internal light source. Visually they will look something akin to Victorian robots.
As well as being a piece inspired by mythology and an ancient architectural marvel it is ultimately a piece about love, and beauty being in the eye of the beholder, with each figure illuminating the other purely through their respective gaze.
Originally designed to be viewed (from the outside) in a gallery window the installation really comes into its own in the evening, when the gallery lights are turned off, and the two ‘lovers’ are illuminated by the lights that emanate from each of their solitary eyes.
Although I have always had a love of fables and mythology, much of my recent interest in Cyclopes stems from a re-evaluation of my Box Sculpture series. Originally I saw the lone magnified lenses set into each of these box pieces as a window into an artificially constructed world – a world where the lens acts as a fairy tale or dream-like filter. However, after being surrounded by these works for some time I started to get an uneasy feeling of being watched. And rather than just being things into which one could peer, I was starting to see the lens as a two-way device, with it also acting as an eye – allowing the internal narrative of the boxes to view the world outside. It is through this altered perception of the work that I started to imagine the collective resonances of certain gathered materials generating a subtle form of awareness of their own.
One of the reasons that I love working in assemblage is that the more you work on a project, the more you see in it. Although you always start off with a set idea and plan, it is often through the construction process that other influences emerge and you become aware of underlying themes and thoughts that have been milling around in your head. Sometimes it is not until the work is finished that these aspects reveal themselves, or until someone points them out to you.
And it is through this fluid mix of ideas that I came to produce these two chimeric figures – appearing part Victorian robot, part CCTV camera and part Cyclops. The materials that I chose to use exerted an influence of their own, giving the finished piece a naive retro-cybernetic feel as I try to integrate the organic and the mechanical.