the agony of hope - Ally Clarke & Heather Gani






Ally and Heather worked together for a number of months creating an artwork on the theme of hope.  Both artists have experienced hope as something complex that can trigger a whole spectrum of states of being.  Hope can be costly and agonising - the hope of rescue from danger, despair or pain, awaiting the fulfilment of a promise, the longing for a lover, a child....  Hope can be cyclical - a weighty burden that seems to drag all aspects of life down with it and at other times, invigorating and inspirational and fuel for determination.  'the agony of hope' is an artwork that vividly expresses these contrasts.

The work intentionally began in a light-hearted way, with tree climbing and launching paper planes from within its branches.  The tree, symbolising life and the throwing of the planes, a releasing of hopes.  Various episodes of tree climbing followed which presented a range of experiences and consequences.  These became the metaphors for the artist's literal, personal cycles of hope and were the substance of much of their film work.

The complete installation occupies four adjoining rooms and corridor space and progressively charts these experiences; literal and emotional, through film and installed elements.

The first film is beautiful, gentle and playful and projected on a large scale.




The second is projected onto suspended tree-trunk-like elements and the film is slower and the paper planes depicted in some of the footage, seem to meet resistance, requiring real effort to fly on.





Two films are shown in the third, dark room along with an installation of literal wieghts, dangling, suspended perilously in flimsy mesh fabric.  Of the films one is a performance piece in which both artists physicalise their 'agony of hope' and the second, a film that makes use of the literal weights twisting and writhing within the mesh fabric until finally breaking through.       




The main elements in the final stage of the installation connect with the initial motifs of trees and paper planes.  Here branches, broken elements from the tree, have come together and become something to climb on in order to move upward to an unknown but enticing future.  The paper planes have become the vehicles of hope.  Each plane is personal and has hope literally inscribed upon it.