The walls of the gallery were lined with unpainted plywood. Over the 5 year period that the gallery operated they had a policy of not filling any holes in the wall left behind from previous shows. This deliberate conceptual and aesthetic decision left the walls peppered with small holes from nails and drawing pins - a trace or record of its history.
During the early discussions on the commission I was asked if I could address this textual record of the containers history by leaving my own mark on it. With this piece I pushed the notion of a hole in the wall to the point where it went all the way through to the outside.
In ‘Self Evaluation’ the train is parked inside a model of a shipping container. A switch mounted on the wall sends the train around the track. As it emerges from the model shipping container the load on the carriage is revealed – it’s another model shipping container. The track takes the train through the wall of the real shipping container/gallery outside into the open. The piece of wood it travels along outside is actually a real railway sleeper. When it reaches the end of this sleeper the train goes through the wall of the container again and back into the gallery before returning to the model shipping container and stopping.
Running alongside the gallery, echoing the theme of real and unreal, is the track for the West Somerset Railway. This is a heritage railway that uses historic locos and rolling stock. Not connected to the national railway system it is a railway with an unreal toy like quality. During the exhibition it was not uncommon for the model train to make its journey in and out of the gallery whilst real trains slowly went past as they pulled out of Watchet station.