In-conversation Series: Ivan Clarke, Matt Ridsdale and Petra Schmidt

  • Online event
  • Wednesday, 14 July 2021
  • Live in-conversation event, starting at 6pm. Part of our Fabrication Research Season, looking at Public Commissions and Collaborations.

Watch online

Ivan Clarke, Matt Ridsdale (Directors, millimetre) and Petra Schmidt (Production Manager, Commissions, Tate Modern) discuss their work on Kara Walker’s Fons Americanus, the 2019 Hyundai Turbine Hall Commission at Tate Modern, highlighting practices of sustainability in fabrication.

About the speakers

Ivan Clarke has a mixed background, initially studying for an Ecology degree and then an Environmental Philosophy Masters. Subsequently he ran a recycling charity before moving towards his more vocational career for which he studied furniture crafts, welding and CAD and went on to establish his own sculptural lighting business. From there Ivan spent time at Brighton & Hove City Council working in regeneration, community and environmental arts programmes prior to moving to millimetre, where he has been a director for the past thirteen years. Ivan has a keen interest in sustainability in the context of art and architecture. Whilst acknowledging the ‘art for art’s sake’ sentiment, he finds the tension between the creation of objects and the associated environmental cost fascinating, challenging and distressing. He is no stranger to cognitive dissonance.

Matt Ridsdale studied Three-Dimensional Design and Craft (Metals and Glass specialism) at West Surrey College of Art & Design (now University of the Creative Arts). ‘Sustainability Through Design’, a module first taught in 1993 helped to define Matt’s sensibilities and his approach to design and material use. Since then Matt has worked as a designer and maker, working on projects varying in scale from furniture and lighting up to modular building, large scale public sculpture. Before co-founding millimetre in 2006, Matt was a partner in a product design company, a sole trader designer/maker, and the co-founder of an organic café and gallery in East London. His role at millimetre often involves problem-solving, fabrication strategies and material specification. He particularly enjoys working on long-term public pieces, those that have inherent human value and are not wasteful or fleeting; works that people will inhabit and enjoy. The positive legacy of his work is vital. Matt has taught modules on the Engineering & Architectural Design MEng course at University College London (UCL) and given lectures centred around the use of materials at both UCL and the Architectural Association.

Petra Schmidt is a London based Creative Producer and currently the Production Manager for commissions at Tate Modern. She primarily oversees the delivery of large artworks created for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, including those by Kara Walker in 2019 and Anicka Yi, due to open in 2021. Before that, she worked on public art installations for the London Design Festival and in various operational roles at the Crafts Council, British Council, and at the Design Museum. With the help of an extensive network of skilled collaborators, professional competence, and passion, she makes the things happen that often at first seem impossible. Having worked in the Arts and Events for years, she has witnessed the often wasteful nature of these practices and believes it is our shared responsibility to drive positive change for people and planet through the use of ethical, sustainable, and advanced means of production.

Fabrication Research Season

The practicalities of how an artist approaches making a sculpture have often been shrouded in mystery. The relationship between artists and skilled fabricators is rarely acknowledged. Exploring the blurred lines between art, craft and industry, this Research Season will make visible the ways in which sculptors in both historical and contemporary contexts have realised their vision through processes of collaboration and exchange, and will examine ways in which making sculpture has changed, particularly in light of the recent coronavirus pandemic.

This Research Season is organised in collaboration with Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre and the Universities of Leeds, York and Sheffield.

See all Fabrication Research Season events

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