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Rowan Lickerish

Brutalist Sound is a series of abstract forged metal sculptures representing aspects of drum and bass. The works are informed by the history and aesthetic of Brutalism, and the processes involved in making the music itself. The seven works represent a musical octave and express both mathematical and emotional interpretations of the music.

The foundation of this project is the creation of abstract forged metal sculptural responses to drum and bass. These responses are informed by the history and aesthetic of Brutalism, and the processes involved in making the music itself.

I am fascinated by music and the images and structures it creates in the imagination. Of particular interest are the synthetic sounds found in contemporary drum and bass. These sounds are created digitally through complicated manipulation of waveforms and do not originate from a familiar source. They have no analogue in the physical world. This lack of familiarity, combined with the often-aggressive nature of these synthetic noises, creates a feeling of unease and threat in the listener. These sounds are a contemporary expression of the sublime, and I aim to capture something of that uncomfortable allure in the sculptures I create.

Drum and bass is hard-edged music from a hard-edged environment, created as a form of escapism from life in socially deprived inner-city areas of Bristol and London. The architectural language of these areas is that of Brutalism and the stark repetition and aggression of Brutalism is reflected in the music. The ordered, angular forms of the sculptures evoke both the urban environment and the harsh nature of the music. The presentation of raw, torn steel joined using unadorned connection techniques also celebrates the Brutalist aesthetic

The making of the sculptures mirrors the making of the music that inspires them. The steel is processed using plasma carving and forging. The resulting components are then composed into sculptures whose forms are derived from the mathematical structures of the music and from automatic drawing responses to certain tracks. Repetition and distortion of simple components creates implied motion, with the viewer’s movement through space as they investigate the works creating the frozen music’s movement through time