Chroma Calls is a new installation of 20 abstract sculptures by artists Yulia Kovanova and Lars Koens covering four miles of Forth & Clyde Canal as part of Canal Encounters.
Scotland-based artists Yulia Kovanova and Lars Koens are presenting their latest installation – Chroma Calls as part of Canal Encounters – a month-long celebration of Scotland’s Forth & Clyde Canal. Commissioned by Falkirk Community Trust and Scottish Canals, the artists are exhibiting 20 sculptures drawing attention to the ecology of the Canal and some of the local and visiting bird species.
Each of the 20 sculptures are based on the colourful plumage of specific bird species that live or visit the canal. They are attached to trees along four miles of Forth & Clyde Canal from the iconic Kelpies to the Falkirk Wheel, the world’s only rotating boat lift.
The artists worked with ecologist and Scottish Canals Environmental Manager, Olivia Lassiere, to select some of the most iconic bird species to feature in the canal and the adjacent walking and cycling path. Each sculpture, through an abstracted arrangement of colour, conjures the particular chromatic patterns by which each species attracts others of its kind. Designed to move in the wind, the sculptures create sounds that carry along the canal. In addition to easily recognisable birds, such as the Robin and Mute Swan, the artists also included such species as the Tufted Duck and Kingfisher, who may be less common or more hidden in the area. Most of the bird species the artists focused on are known to be present during the month of August when the sculptures are on show.
The simple compositions draw attention to colours that would otherwise go unnoticed, such as the red of the Coot’s eye, the silvery glow of the Jackdaw’s feathers, and the pink legs of the herring gull. In the process of colour coding, the artists discovered the complexity of bird colours, with the colour palettes of birds depending on a range of variables, including age, gender, season, lighting and is furthermore different per individual. The sculptures are made out of wood, primarily birch and bamboo, and utilising eco-friendly paint, in keeping with the celebration of the Forth & Clyde canal ecology.
In addition to the birds’ body parts, the minimal shapes of the sculptures – circles, semi-circles and lines – echo the canal’s industrial and natural features: the canal, its locks and its bridges relate to linear shapes, and the Falkirk Wheel has circular and semicircular shapes. As a result, Chroma Calls is a conjunction of the heritage, environment and communities of the waterway.
The artists worked together with a treehouse specialist Patrick Fulton, to build and secure the sculptures to various tree species, as well as other canal structures.
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