A Slow Event

London, 1992

Exactly ten years after the death of Stephen Cripps , an artist who used sound and fire in his original and influential actions and with whom the Bow Gamelan had worked prior to forming, Anne Bean, Paul Burwell and Richard Wilson created an ephemeral but monumental work for him at Serpentine Gallery, London, A Slow Event: A Fresh Bunch of Flowers

Flowers which expressed moments in Cripps’s life, suggested or contributed by his friends, were frozen into clear blocks of ice creating a 10’ x 36’ structure which melted over the course of a day leaving wilted debris at nightfall. Many people spent hours watching this slow event. One of the blocks had a clock with only the second hand, so it was continuously in present time, with thyme plants suspended. As the battery was the warmest component, the clock was the first to break surface and it remained there in all its presentness.

In the evening Anne, Paul and Richard literally launched a monograph that had just been published on Stephen Cripps’s work. They detonated it with a fuse and explosives so that the pages went flying through the air.

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