The tank’s chassis is built from a variety of garden implements. The frame is made out of wheelbarrows and lawnmowers and the gun is a 'garden flame gun' used for killing weeds. The driver’s seat is a deck chair and the petrol tank is made from a watering can. Two brooms brush the inside of the tracks clean to stop them from clogging. The motive power comes from four 'Suffolk Punch' Lawnmower engines. Made in Suffolk, they also come from ‘Constable Country’.
The pictures were printed during the 1960’s through to the 1980’s, each one was produced unglazed and mounted with glue onto a sheet of hardboard that was then framed. The frames have been removed and used here on the inside of the tank to hold each panel together and line the interior.
The tank has not been built and then ‘covered’ in pictures it has been ‘made from’ pictures. The picture frames can also be seen on the outside surrounding the gun/vision slits. Normally we look into the area defined by a picture frame into the artificial landscape of a painting, here the driver climbs into the painting and in effect looks through the picture frame out onto the real world.
(Film 5 mins 23 secs.) Camera- Eddie Weldon, Mark Colyer and Chris. This film plays on the TV screen under the tank in the gallery.
The Auxiliary. Middlesbrough Art Weekender , 2019'
Photo Miki Rogers
In the gallery the tank is displayed on top of a TV monitor playing a film of the tank driving over a television playing a video of the tank. At a given time during a private view the tank is taken off of the TV monitor, the engines are started and I attempt to drive over the TV and crush it.
Process has always been the most important part of the work for me. Part of this process is the use of the work outside in the landscape. I have always found it difficult to bring this into the art gallery without resorting to using a film as documentation. In some ways I despise the video as it symbolises that the important moment of the work has past and it is only the remnants that enter the gallery. My friend, Arjen Boerstra, once called this “The reality problem”.
My mother still has a Constable print in the house where I grew up; a semi detached on a council housing estate- arguably the target market for this type of interior decoration. I always feel that the patchwork camouflage of my homemade tank, made from nostalgic images of rural idylls; resonates interestingly with the patchwork of gardens behind everyone’s house on the estate. I see each garden as a small allotted segment of landscape, somehow trying to imitate the countryside and the romantic image of rural solitude.
Willy Lott's cottage. Flatford Mill. Essex/Suffolk border, Constable country.
The show 'Model Village' (London, 2004) was in an old shoe factory that was due for demolition. Consequently it was ok to drive the tank around in it. At the private view I successfully destroyed a bright red, 1970's portable television. In this photo I have a rubber car mat stitched to the seat of my boiler suit. I'm also wearing marigold gloves and wellington boots in case of electrocution. Photo: Jo Newman
Camera- Gemma Tierney, Karina Smigla Bobinski, Kyp Kyprianou. The Auxiliary. Middlesbrough Art Weekender , 2019'
Also shown in 'Model Village', London N1-2004 , 'Young Masters' London, EC1-2005. Guardian (23/06/05)
Other publications: 'The Uses of an Artist'-1998, 'This Flat Earth'-2000, 'De Strip'-2002 - 'Baudrillard Now'-2009 and MAW (Middlesbrough Art Weekender) 2019.
TV and Radio : The tank was the subject of a three minute television short on 'The Slot' (Channel 4). Filmed and edited by Dan Saul (2001). Some of Dan's footage also features in this 9 minute item on the 'BBC's Culture show' about a contemporary 'Contstable country' controversy in 2006 (The tank features 7.50 minutes into the item). Also BCC Radio 4's 'Front Row', 1998.
(See also 'The Cornfield- Free Gift Inside' a Constable related work on this website ).
Stour Surrounding - Artists and the Valley
A documentary film that takes a look at artists both past and present who have responded to the landscape of the Stour Valley.
The film has been produced by artist Jevan Watkins Jones with Offshoot Films.
(44mins. 53 secs) Landscape Escape No. 2 features at
5mins, 25secs , 42 mins. and end credit sequence.