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Prop II (Basilica)

David McDiarmid

Prop II (Basilica)

David McDiarmid





Dimensions (cm)

Height: 120
Length: 50
Depth: 50


Jesmonite, mdf, gold leaf, perspex

Suitable Locations for the Work

  • Indoors
  • Floor-based
  • On a plinth

Background, history, commissioner of the work

Made originally for RSA New Contemporaries 2014 at the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh. Also appeared in solo shows at Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (2014) and Interview Room 11, Edinburgh (2014).

Thematic/contextual information

At this time, my work sought to examine the concept of megalomania in architecture; the means by which the built environment is often purposefully designed, constructed and used as a tool for power and propaganda. My paintings and models played with ideas of scale and form, taking inspiration from historical examples of power architecture in order to depict ambitious plans and proposals for structures which will never exist in reality. Scaffolding is a recurring motif, its significance derived from its paradoxical position as both a fundamentally temporary structure and its irrevocable status throughout the history of construction, where conceptually it time and again outlasts the permanent structures derived from it. In producing this work, I incorporated materials and processes typically associated with architecture and construction. In this case, the paintings have been made on surfaces cast in plaster, juxtaposed with the precious materials of the scaffold model they sit on using gold leaf and faux marble to further explore the artifice of grandeur. This work was directly inspired by a 6 week stay in Venice where I got to explore the city's vast array of marble buildings, particularly St Mark's Basilica. Integral to the development of this work was the consideration of how the installation and presentation of these paintings and models in an exhibition, can influence the viewer behaviourally and emotionally, like the architecture of power is designed to do. In this case, the custom built plinth of Prop (II) Basilica, implores the viewer to stoop before it in order to view the paintings and models accordingly.

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