Sam Spenser - Crash

Last year I proposed the work 'Faro' to be sited in Colletta.

Since, I have been awarded the 2009 Bursary Award by the Royal British Society of Sculpture and fabricated the beacon. I continue to be fascinated by the suspension of disbelief and how I can encourage someone to lose one’s self within a sculptural installation. As an artist, the traditional gallery space proves problematic. The gallery as an institution has an etiquette that renders any & every visitor critical. The suspension of disbelief is about the contrary: letting go of your critical awareness and immersing your senses.


The role of my art is to pose questions, not present answers. Answers are less interesting – don’t expect any conclusions.

This is an art of ambiguity, myth and mystification.

I want to present a puzzle that acts as a catalyst for the imagination of others.

Themes in my work such as remoteness, the quest, the unknown, archaeology, the hidden/lost,codes & symbols all function as layers of deferral from any answer or conclusion.

I wish to treat the medieval village of Colletta as the setting in which to stage a mystery.

This proposal is partly inspired by the short fiction of J.G. Ballard. Within his stories, there is often the character of a lost aviator. Perhaps an amateur pilot who is flying a pioneer mission into the skies of foreign, faraway regions like an Arthurian knight. I am inspired by the romance and mythology of Ballard’s adventurous pilot characters.

I propose to stage a light aircraft crash in the hills of the Pennavaire valley. I would source the decommissioned aircraft from an organization such as Air Salvage International and sculpt it into the landscape to simulate an air disaster. The wreck would illuminate itself by night using a circuit of solar panels and automatic low-voltage lighting. I intend for the fuselage to be stumbled upon by an unexpecting public. This installation should be intriguing, exciting and convincing like the mise-en-scene of a Hollywood movie.

My artwork should be then left to rot. I am excited at the prospect of the metal structure growing old and becoming slowly reclaimed by nature. It is in battle with the elements. It should later appear as a forgotten relic in the overgrowth – a mystery unsolved.

The plane/ship wreck is a generic convention within popular culture. It is universally understood and somehow familiar - even enticing. Both are so aesthetically powerful that they prove the perfect catalyst for the popular imagination. Such disasters are often the beginning of a narrative. Such disasters seem to demand answers…

The wreck will then undoubtedly draw attention to the landscape in which it sits. The crash site is a dramatic, hostile environment. Can my romantic, sculptural intervention transform the provincial Italian landscape into a space feeling as vast, magical & sublime as that of a Caspar David Friedrich painting?

© Sam Spenser

Back to 2010 submissions.

Contact :
Registered charity : 1124352