Collection

Circumstantial Evidence
Greer Twiss

1986

Greer Twiss
b.
1937
Title:
Circumstantial Evidence
Production date:
1986
Accession No:
87/4
Measurements:
Site specific; diameter of stools is approximately 2m. See Registrar's comments under Admin and Risk Assessment for detailed installation instructions.
Media:
Lead, tawa, light bulb, electric flex.

Collection Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth

Greer Twiss’ sculptures operate in the tricky domain between representation and fact. They often fluctuate between dual roles, as both sculptures of objects and as functional objects themselves. Representation and reality become confused. In Circumstantial Evidence, folding stools are formed from wood and lead sheeting textured to look like canvas. At least theoretically functional as seats, here they hold up objects in lieu of people. A lampshade, also fashioned from lead, is demonstrably operational as it casts light over the ensemble of objects.

The installation as a whole has the air of theatrical staging. It seems like the setting for a meeting, where the props have become stand-ins for the actors. The low light hanging ominously over the circle of stools provides a conspiratorial, cloak-and-dagger feel. As in a theatrical production, the props and set can be read symbolically as the meaningful accoutrements of each character. In this case, a selection of tools seems to refer us back to the creation of the work itself. On one stool, a wine glass appears to be left behind by a careless attendee of the exhibition opening.

In a court of law, circumstantial evidence provides only part of the story. It implies, whereas direct evidence supplies, proof. The whole story is not provided in Twiss’ work either. Fragments and isolated objects allude to lost or missing connective parts and allow only a partial narrative to be constructed. Produced in 1986, Circumstantial Evidence is part of a series Twiss made after the tragic destruction of his family home by fire. In light of this fact, the camp stools take on an emotionally significant allusion to makeshift living, and the objects they support can perhaps be read as talismans of survival.