Andy Parkin's Universal Man

24 March, 2011
Andy Parkin lost in concentration piecing together his sculpture at LLAMFF 2011. © Ray Wood
Andy Parkin is an extraordinary artist and alpinist. Not long back from winter soloing and first ascent exploits in Nepal, he was at the recent Llanberis Mountain Film Festival (LLAMFF) exhibiting one of his sculptures. The difference on this occasion was that he intentionally arrived with no materials and nothing to exhibit. The plan was to sift through DMM's recycling skips, relying on their contents (photo below) and spontaneous inspiration to dictate the form of the piece.

A great deal of Andy's work involves making use of found objects and discarded materials, breathing new life into them. On the Friday morning of the festival Andy went along to the skips to find them mostly full of left-over alloy from hot forging carabiners and pressing out buckles.

Just up the road from DMM in a corner of the large festival marquee Andy quietly went about his business, working his magic to conjure up his Universal Man sculpture from the retrieved scrap he'd pulled out of the skips.

The suspended three-dimensional outcome has echoes of da Vinci's Vitruvian Man but Andy's sculpture has its own impressive power and physicality, with a magnetic attraction for viewers attention. "Tortured man", "Terminator machine", "climber on a crucifix move" were some of the comments heard describing the finished work. Have a look at the short video of the making of it and see what you think?
carabiner flash clippingsAlloy clipping flashes left-over from the hot forging of carabiners in the recycling skip. © Ray Wood