Ricky Swallow, Reversed Pitcher 1, 2013. Patinated bronze, 10 × 6 × 7 1/2 in. (25.4 × 15.2 × 19.1 cm), unique. Collection of the artist. Photograph by Fredrik Nilsen
Ricky Swallow, Stair with Contents, 2013. Patinated bronze. Edition no. 1/1 + 1 AP, 22 × 35 × 22 in. (55.9 × 88.9 × 55.9 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy Modern Art, London, and Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney
NARRTOR: Ricky Swallow makes cast bronze sculptures—a form that goes back to ancient times. But Swallow plays with the tradition, using readymade cardboard forms to cast the material. Ricky Swallow.
RICKYSWALLOW: Some of the cardboard forms, particularly the cardboard packing tubes, they come in different scales and they, again, they’re cut and combined. But certain scales of the tubes suggest certain domestic forms like a lamp or a pitcher or a cup, and I’ve utilized them in that way. But often, there’s other times where I’m trying to use the material in a way that’s maybe against what it’s suggesting or against the form that it wants to be initially. So some of the tubes are cut up to produce these kind of fan forms or curtain forms that are darted, sort of sections.
NARRATOR: Most casts can be used over and over again, and bronze sculptures are often produced in editions. Swallow’s casts are unique—the molten bronze destroys the cardboard even as it takes on aspects of the cardboard’s form.
RICKYSWALLOW: There are ways to make these thing so they truly resemble cardboard. And that’s never my intention—like, it’s to use that material for its, for its texture and kind of everyday quality or its studio logic, if you like. But I’ve never made anything in this way and sort of left it at cardboard. So the preservation of it into bronze and into a more permanent state has always been a kind of objective from the outset.