Work in progress.
The preview image above is the first sculpture in a new body of work addressing female sexuality, specifically Challenger's own, in a series that will draw upon her recent history.
This initial 'scratch' sculpture will be shown in the Royal Holloway University Picture Gallery from November 2017. It will accompany the David Vilaseca Memorial lecture she has been invited to give this year, entitled 'On Truth'.
'The Empty Nest' is part of the 'After you.' works, and sees the chronology of intimate relationship working backwards to end in the 'Before you.' series. It sees a departure from previous work, in that it is confessional and personal. However, this particular 'After you.' sculpture also speaks to environmental and socio-political concerns, referencing species dwindling after loss of habitat due to human encroachment, the make-shift housing for displaced populations and identification of mental illness.
On a visit to Royal Holloway, curator Laura MacCulloch introduced Challenger to the work of Christiana Herringham, whose story has impacted on the making of this particular sculpture. A Victorian patron, suffragette and copyist, Lady Herringham's legacy of art forms a core part of the University's collection. One of the paintings in the Picture Gallery is of her two children, the youngest of which died at a very young age. Tragically, Christiana ended her days in various asylums.
'The Empty Nest' is made from found/gathered material (courtesy of HackLab in Edinburgh) and comprises of fire alarm cable twisted in a chaotic physical incantation reminiscent of basket weaving for the mentally ill.