Rosie Leventon makes sculptural installations, for indoors and environmental art in the landscape. She experiments with new materials and using them in innovative ways, such as Celotex Insulation, central heating pipes, recycled mobile phones and paperbacks, as well as more durable stone, water earth and wood. Some pieces are designed to promote a meditation on vulnerability and on the illusion of solidity and permanence in life – one of the continuing themes in her work. Many of the works are to do with things which have been lost hidden or forgotten.
Some of Leventon’s installations comprise radical interventions into the interior architecture of a building. She has constructed false floors that float on water and which shift under foot. Her outdoor installations sometimes highly ambitious in scale often have a functional, regional element, providing water for animals, for example, or promoting biodiversity and regeneration. Her work is grounded in a sensitive concern for the natural environment and how we use it. Leventon sees her work as interweaving a kind of personal archaeology with the archaeology of contemporary society and the physical archaeology of places.
Much of Leventon’s sculpture incorporates elements of surprise or wry humour, but there is also a muscular quality to some of her installations, which carries its own freight of symbolism. ‘Forensic Evidence’, a piece first shown at London’s Serpentine Gallery, comprises a series of recycled stacked scaffolding boards, from which an elegant, wound-like indentation has been hacked, while ‘False Floor’ is constructed from old scaffolding boards punctured with ragged holes from which water spurts, splashing the surrounding boards. Such pieces possess vaguely menacing connotations, as if one has inadvertently strayed into a place where some catastrophic event has taken place.
She also draws and paints, using ink, pencil, acrylic, chalk, bitumen and other media to create proposals for sculpture and installations. Although often conceived as outline ideas for larger 3d projects these drawings and maquettes represent a significant body of work in their own right. The drawings combine expressive energy with a sculptor’s instinct for ground and depth. Surfaces are tactile, often evoking organic sculptural materials, or referencing the elemental aspects of landscape.
– Tom Flynn