Crushed Wall

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A large scale installation with a twist can be found at the Cornwall Council led Heartlands development in Pool, Redruth. Crushed Wall captures for the first time, the geological pressure that mining had on the earth during the height of Cornish tin mining, when miners were hitting depths of over 1km.

Conceived by artist Walter Jack and involving a unique moulding technique to create a fluid and voluptuous effect never seen before with concrete on this scale. Rising to 3m ‘Crushed acts as a corner stone and defining art feature of Heartlands, the new £35 million visitor attraction and community space due to open in spring 2012.

Walter Jack and his team were commissioned by Heartlands with an initial brief to decorate a wall being placed on the site, but they decided to take on the challenge of creating the wall itself. Walter Jack says:

“Crushed Wall is about two things.  Firstly, it’s about place as Heartlands sits over very special and unique geology. When we began thinking of the design for the wall, the geological connection seemed serendipitous. Retaining walls hold back the geology and are the boundary between our above-ground world and the world of mining.

“Secondly it’s about process. One of the things that interests me as a maker is the way in which the finished product is often much duller than the process that got it there. Concrete is not noted for its fluid softness, and yet it is a liquid. We wanted our concrete to tell its own story – to retain the liquidness of its process.”

Using 30m of rubber, Walter and his team created a giant jelly mould in which the concrete would set.  Once complete, the mould was cut into six sections and transported to Ladd’s Concrete within Pool. Once there, concrete specialists assisted the artists in achieving their unusual vision, turning this often dull, hard and lifeless building material into an art piece with fluidity and depth.

Words by Gem Barton

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