Humidity Pendulum, Sydney, 1995
Humidity is an installation that represents a continuous process of both subtle and dramatic transformation. Composed of a series of elements, most notably several hundred hand-made plaster bricks harbouring brilliantly coloured dyes which slowly eke to the surface, the work is never complete nor free from intervention. At one point, the bricks were assembled into a wall so as to create a painterly surface evocative of the passage of time, but photographs on an adjacent wall documented the other configurations the bricks had taken during the exhibition as the artist had rearranged them.
The possibilities for physical manifestation appeared many, the promise of order or chaos equally strong. Through the artist’s and viewer’s interference, the elements of the installation were in continual interaction with the space, reconfiguring and challenging its confines. The plaster bricks were also in constant exchange with the humidity of the air, as evident in the slow seepage of the dyes: the more the moisture, the more brilliant the colours.
Pedley’s installation renders tangible the passage of time, and the ambivalence of change that promises both renewal and decay. For me, the subtle transmutations the installation underwent were a poetic reminder of the inevitably aging body. As I walked amongst these ‘living’objects, breathing change into them, appropriating their lustre with my fingers, Pedley told me that upon completing an exhibition, she may smash portions of her sculpture for use in future work. She also pointed out that if they were not tended in a controlled environment, within a few years the plaster bricks would suddenly turn to dust. The reference did not escape me.
This is an extract from a review first published in Agenda, October 1995