The World’s a Climbing Frame at PICA

– by David Charlesworth

Over the last month, the insides of PICA have been changed on a whole new scale. Artist Erin Coates was commissioned to re-shape the inside of PICA which she has done incredibly through her installation exhibition Kinesphere. Erin based the works off her love of climbing, architecture and sculpture.

Erin’s 7 metre tall foam monolith houses a micro cinema showing film of herself, climbers and parkour runners climbing structures all around Perth. Its outside is based on hand holds and routes of the PICA building itself. In another section of PICA is a climbing wall, which anyone can have a go at and routes directing people across its face.

“Over the last few years, my interest in climbing and my interest in architecture and my interest in visual arts, these three spheres have started to overlap. This project is really a combination of those three. I did combine them first last year for a Perth’s international art exhibition called Inside Running, which was all about the relationship between art and sport. But this solo exhibition, Kinesphere at PICA has taken it a lot further.”

“This is definitely the biggest project I have ever done. Basically I wanted to make a structure that was a kind of visual representation of a climb.”

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Erin worked with engineers, artists, architects and climbers to complete the work. Firstly through climbing PICA itself and then translating that through multiple disciplines into the foam monolith and the climbing wall.

“I like working on projects that are challenging and have a level of adventure in actually producing the work. Usually the work is not just made in my studio by myself it involves interacting with different spaces and working with people to get the work made.”

“It was a big undertaking that used other special pieces of knowledge, hopefully people will get a sense when they’re looking at the structure that there’s some other kind of knowledge embedded in the surface.”

Erin has herself visited the exhibition after its opening on September 12 and has enjoyed seeing people interacting with her work.

“Every time I’ve gone in there’s been people on the bouldering wall, trying out the routes. There’s also a video hidden in the bouldering wall, in little holes that you peer through there’s actually a 3D video. It’s really fun watching people get up to the video and hang on long enough to watch it. I think there’s a lot of potential for interactive art that goes beyond just engaging with our eyes, something that uses our bodies as well.”

Visitors to the exhibition giving the climbing
Visitors to the exhibition giving the climbing

Erin has another project coming up in December working with the WA museum looking in a distinctly different direction.

“The next project I’m working on goes into the depths of the water, and it involves filming in a sunken whale chaser shipwreck in Albany. That’s happening in December and its being shown as a part of the Future Recall exhibition put on by Spaced at the West Australian Museum in February.”

Artist Erin Coates climbing her work.
Artist Erin Coates climbing her work.

Erin’s work has been shown all over the world, from Canada to Spain to China to New Zealand. Kinesphere will be on a display at PICA until November 2.

ADDRESS: Perth Cultural Centre, 47 James Street Mall Northbridge

HOURS: Tuesday to Sunday 10am-5pm

WEBSITE: www.pica.org.au


Photo credit: Alessandro Bianchetti

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