“’Surf’s up’ is a photographic image produced using a scanning electron microscope to look closely at a single grain of sand from the California coast. Looking at the dirt under our feet reveals another world, a landscape that we can never visit. A landscape of our mind, or of possibility, which seems to me to be so much part of the experience of life in Southern California; a land of possibilities, of dreams,” the artist said.
“This billboard image mirrors the mythological and elemental properties of California living. Daydreams, darkness and isolation can accompany sunshine…the title, ‘Surf’s Up’ refers to a song by the Beach Boys, written by Brian Wilson, himself a virtual shut-in for years, in a land where the sun never stops shining.”
Gallaccio creates site-specific installations, often using organic materials as her medium. Her work is preoccupied with the nature of change through the passage of time. Past projects have included arranging one ton of oranges on a floor, placing a thirty-two ton block of ice in a boiler room, and painting a wall with chocolate. The nature of these materials results in natural processes of transformation and decay, often with unpredictable results. Gallaccio has stated, “I see my works as being a performance and a collaboration…. There is an unpredictability in the materials and collaborations I get involved in. Making a piece of work becomes about chance – not just imposing will on something, but acknowledging its inherent qualities.”
Anya Gallaccio was born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1963 and educated at Kingston Polytechnic and Goldsmiths College at the University of London. She is currently a Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. As one of the leading British sculptors of her generation, she was short-listed for the prestigious Turner Prize in 2003.