Driving 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.
Since 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" - Alison Wilding
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Alison Wilding, 'Rising', 2001
Cast acrylic with pigment
Limited edition of 35. Published by The Multiple Store.
16 x 12 x 16.5 cm