The Pool by Jen Lewin
November to December 2014
Alan Rivett, Warwick Arts Centre’s Director challenged me to find a large-scale piece that would have significant impact, a piece capable of attracting enough attention to draw new people onto campus to engage with Warwick’s programme. Pieces of this size are not easy to contemplate programming, especially given the limited time I had to get the digital programme on its feet.
I was delighted to programme the UK premiere of The Pool, an outdoor light sculpture by American artist Jen Lewin . The piece had a beautiful simplicity that offered a rewarding experience for the audience to engage with. It met, very easily, the desire to provide accessible work to the broadest possible audience. And both I, and the rest of the Arts Centre team fell for its charm.
I enjoyed leading a cross-departmental team of Arts Centre staff to solve a number of financial and logistical challenges to be able to present a large-scale interactive artwork safely and efficiently in the middle of the university campus in winter!
The biggest challenge was to find the most appropriate site for the piece and then, how to fix the piece so that it was both safe and secure. It was clear that the public square at the front of the Arts Centre was the most appropriate space but for too long we were stuck on how to secure The Pool to the ground. A wooden base was too expensive and labour-intensive, not securing it seemed too much of a H&S risk. Eventually, the use of a rubber floor that the pads could be glued to provided an excellent solution.
Audiences in Coventry were charmed, excited and intrigued by it. It became a well-photographed part of campus life and a steady stream of visitors took advantage of its presence whenever it was switched on.