escalator by Tref 0


escalator by Tref

A letter to Tom, Hannah, Joe and John

Alright you lot? Just on the Eurostar zooming through the countryside Belgium bound. No idea where we are but I think still in la belle France. I’m listening, very appropriately, to Jacques Brell. There is an announcement but I can’t hear it with old Jacques singing passionately in my ears. Ah coming into Lille je pense.

I thought it was about time you got a collective letter. I don’t have anything particular to say. Mum and I are off out for a cultural Saturday on October 1st. The exhibition of portraits in the Usher Gallery in the morning, lunch followed by an afternoon of talks on local history at the Collection. The latter is art of the Lincoln Book Festival, or similar. Nice to do something like that with your mum.

Mum is a particularly English way of describing Webs. As a dual Irish Welsh national I would of course naturally call mine mam. The same would apply if I was from Newcastle and Liverpewl. It must therefore be a Southern English thing.

Just seen a typical Frenchman was along the platform. V smart suit, nice haircut and towing a suitcase and laptop bag. On his way to do a bit of business. Or returning from the same.

The escalator continues even though there is no-one on it. A bit wasteful. Quite artistic though. I can imagine a display at the Tate Modern comprising of just an escalator. They would have to have double height gallery or indeed just rope off one of the escalators between floors. People could stand and watch the display either at the bottom or the top.

This could potentially cause problems. If there is only one up and one down escalator then people would have to use the lift to go either up or down, depending on the direction of the one used in the display. There could be an issue here with the capacity of the lift. You would need several to replace a single escalator. The only alternative is plan A – build a stand alone escalator in the gallery. Nobody said art was easy. If it was everyone would be a Picasso.

I envisage this display would have a simple card next to it saying “escalator by Tref”. No capital E. Doesn’t need it. That would suggest a start and finish which of course the escalator doesn’t really have. Unless it is switched off but that would undermine the subject.

We would have to see how it goes but we might have to post an attendant at the entrance to the escalator to stop idiots stepping onto the display. Adds to the cost for the gallery but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do and this will not have been a cheap exhibit to put on anyway.

This work is for sale. There is more than one available but each one is signed and individually numbered. People could buy them in pairs and install them as functional escalators in a building of their choice. Their home even. Clearly it would have to be a big home but this is unlikely to be a problem for someone able to afford this work.

It isn’t difficult to envisage a scenario where thousands are sold, making us all rich, and creating a situation where people travel around the world just to “collect” escalators by Tref. I could even do a website that allows people to post pictures of themselves next to any given numbered piece. There could be a hierarchy of fans with the higher statuses reserved for people who have seen more of them than others. Silver, gold and platinum or maybe something denoting the number of floors climbed. The higher the number the higher the status. I think we’ll do it that way.

As I think about it the main escalator display would definitely have to be a riser. This would be far more positive than the down version and is more in keeping with my optimistic outlook on life. The pairing of up and down is also ok but down on its own isn’t. The pairing brings with it a lot more scope for interpretation. The dual version would be called “pair of escalators by Tref”.

The viewing position for the paired exhibit should be from the bottom. It would be a completely different work if viewed from the top. In this respect the piece is very versatile. It is several works of art in one. As I think of it there is even scope for the solo down escalator as it would have associated with it a completely different set of thoughts and emotions to the up escalator. The gallery could decide which one it wanted to display. This may be influenced by whatever else is on display or merely by the physical constrains of the space in which it is displayed.

The question that now springs to mind is whether the same logic can be applied to a lift. The lift brings with it scope for lots more creativity. Different visuals and sounds inside. Perhaps changing as the lift goes up and down. I’m not going to elaborate at this stage of the creativity process but I’d like to consider the idea bagsied.

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