Photo by Rene Staud,  Germany: 
Lawson Oyekan and Aston Martin Lagonda, Global HQ: Aston Martin New Design Center Project. 
Gaydon, Warwickshire, UK October 2007 

Physics Being Healing Physics

Lawson’s work is fundamentally about life. He manipulates the very substance of creation (clay), the mythical material all life forms are made out of, and presents it anew.

The structures are such as to confound the viewer. The confusion is delivered through the scale and depth of the work. It is worth focusing on this particular piece on the show as a route to understanding the meaning behind his works.

This piece is made up of three monoliths placed in a single line. This simple fact is worth noting, the Number Three, the pledge of three, needs to be expanded upon at this point. Three is the number of life, the past, the present, and the future. It represents the three stages in life, childhood, adulthood, and Old Age. Or, for more drama, it means birth, energy, and death. We are aware of the three Fates in Greek and Roman mythology and the structure of the Trinity within Christianity. In philosophy, Hegel presented the thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Within Judaism, there are three patriarchs, prayers are said three times a day, and ablution before prayer within Islam is repeated thrice.

Now it is possible to focus on Number three without addressing the presence of the sculptural pieces in front of you. The bodies and the bodies in front of you are slightly larger than human size. They lord over their viewers, forcing an assessment of the self. In front of an inanimate object capable of inhalation and exhalation, it is possible to make honest judgments about one’s relationship with the world. As Lawson says, these are healing beings, and healing only comes about through scrutiny and the deliberate application of a remedy. Sometimes the scrutiny can only come about through confrontation, and these monoliths do precisely that; they confront.

There are no simple answers to the questions that arise in dialogue with Lawson’s work. This is what is supposed to happen in the presence of experiences outside our immediate understanding. If art is supposed to do anything, it is supposed to help us understand the world, and that can only be done when we are taken outside ourselves and encounter the new. Physics Being Healing Physics helps us do this.

Credit: Professor Raimi Gbadamosi, University of Johaniabourg, South Africa: For Lawson Oyekan and Aston Martin Lagonda, Gaydon Warwickshire, UK October 2007

Cornwall Quarry
Hands and Minds Speak, Handsworth Park Arts Trail, 2010

Hands and Minds Speak (2010)

The piece carved from Cornish Granite was installed in 2010 and was part of an art programme set up by Birmingham City Council to commission contemporary artists to make new public artworks for heritage restorations in parks across the City.