object, cast acrylic with pigment, 2.7 kg., 16 x 12 x 16.5 cm. / inches, edition
35, signed and numbered, 2001
her car one day, Alison Wilding was listening to a radio play about the
scientists who were working on the first atomic pile in 1942. In conditions of
high security and extreme secrecy, the pile was constructed in a disused squash
court in Stagg Field on the University of Chicago campus.
then 'Rising' has undergone several transformations. Research into the design
and construction methods of the first atomic pile revealed an object which
echoes the stepped and pyramid structures of ancient civilisations. The title
– Rising – partly alludes to the semi-concealed red disc at the
base of the object. Despite being cast in acrylic in a state-of-the-art
pressurised autoclave, the pigmentation of each object is, by contrast, mixed by
hand, ensuring that no two can be identical and that chance has a part to play
in the final artwork.
The play started me thinking about the pile – what did it look like – what was its scale and why did it take that particular form. Curiosity about the pile within the squash court within the campus was the starting point for the sculpture.