Artwork

Offering / Ann Hamilton

1991
Ann Hamilton, Offering, 1991 
Views
Identifier

IWC.1991.71

Materials

wax ex-voto heads, steel and glass case, heating elements, canaries, steel table, coal miner's ledger

Description
A simple 3-story row house, gutted, is the space for the installation.

First floor: A visitor coming from the street level entrance hears the sounds of birds, smells melting wax, and sees stalagmites of wax rising from the floor. The origins are revealed only by going up the stairs.

Second floor: On a steel table is an old miner's ledger. Wax, dripping from the ceiling above, slowly covers the book. Heating elements below cause the wax to continue to melt, taking it through slits in the floor.

Third floor: A steel framed glass cabinet, 7 feet long, contains wax heads. A heating element causes the heads to melt, and the wax drips to the floor. Another heating element in the floor causes the wax to drip farther, to the floor below.

Here are 30 canaries, traditionally used to test the oxygen supply for miners. The canaries are provided with food and water, and perch under the eaves. They build little nests in warm spots and begin to lay eggs.

The windows are smoked with soot from candles. The birds don't fly into the glass, but leave brush marks from their wings on the blackened panes.

In collaboration with the Carnegie International.
About the Artist
Ann Hamilton is a visual artist known for her site responsive large scale installations, public projects, and performance collaborations. Her ephemeral projects are based in her career-long interest in felt experience as the basis for recognition and knowledge and in the relationships between written language and tactile experience, cloth and body, motion and stillness.  
 
Hamilton has received the National Medal of Arts, MacArthur Fellowship, Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, NEA Visual Arts Fellowship, United States Artists Fellowship, the Heinz Award, and was selected to represent the United States at the 1991 São Paulo Biennial and the 1999 Venice Biennale.

She received a BFA in Textile Design from the University of Kansas and an MFA in Sculpture from the Yale University School of Art. Hamilton currently lives in Columbus, Ohio where she is Distinguished University Professor of Art at The Ohio State University. 
October 19, 1991 - February 16, 1992
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