Heather & Ivan Morison: Luna Park & An Unreachable Country: A Long Way to Go

Aspex, Portsmouth, Portsmouth, 07/31/2010 - 10/10/2010

The Vulcan Building


Portsmouth and Southsea’s skyline will be transformed this summer by the spectacular addition of Luna Park, Heather & Ivan Morison’s recreation of the accidental dinosaur Ultrasauros. Created in the style of American roadside super-sculptures and standing at 16 metres tall on Southsea Common, Luna Park will be visible from miles around.

In the 1970s, Professor Jim Jensen discovered a set of giant bones that were believed to belong to Ultrasauros, the largest dinosaur ever. More than a decade later however, it was revealed that his discovery was in fact a chimera made up of two different species; the Ultrasauros was an untruth.

The Morison’s Luna Park, which forms part of their exhibition, An Unreachable Country. A Long Way To Go at aspex, continues their recent investigations into the blurring of fact and fiction, and of creating events and sites that encourage viewers to pause and question their surroundings. On Southsea Common, the Ultrasauros will not only provide a new symbol for the city, but can also function as a meeting place, a shelter, a temporary landmark, a rallying point, a social space for local and international communities.

The sculpture is being made in a small rural village outside the city of Kragujevac in Serbia. The construction team of engineers, welders, assemblers and model makers are all ex-employees of the Zastava car factory that was the main employer of Kragujevac, making Yugo cars, before it closed. At 16 metres tall, the dinosaur is being constructed in a specially built workshop made from disassembled timbers of pallets from the old car factory.

Luna Park is made from a steel skeleton covered with a hard, coloured polyester shell – the same materials used to model Yugos. This fascinating collaboration with Serbia, has become an integral part of the artistic vision for the work. A new film, to be screened at the gallery, will reveal the construction and installation process, as the artists’ continue to merge information into a narrative that builds on the mythology of their own lives and the lives of people they encounter.

Southsea Common will be the first home for Luna Park. It will then travel to Colchester in association with Firstsite and to Cardiff with Chapter. Luna Park is a Chapter initiative that has been commissioned in collaboration with Safle through the Stiwdio Safle programme, aspex Portsmouth and Firstsite Colchester. The project has received generous financial support from Safle, The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council England through Sustain and is part-financed by the European Union.

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Heather & Ivan Morison

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