As part of GENERATION, Tessa Lynch has made a major new work for the outdoor setting of Jupiter Artland near Edinburgh. Responding directly to its location, the work is inspired by ‘barn raising’, which is an old form of communal house or barn building popular in Britain from medieval times and in North America in the nineteenth century. On a number of occasions throughout the project, Lynch and a group of volunteers will collectively raise or build a structure like a modern house, before it is dismantled and laid flat on the site until the next build. It can be altered, and thus will be different on each occasion.
Lynch is particularly interested in the historical belief that the law would allow people to keep land if they could build a cottage on it and light a fire in the hearth before sunset on the same day. She sees this idea as a method of ensuring agreement about new homes, as people would need help from their local community to achieve this. Her reinvention of medieval land-claiming and construction suggests that building should become more democratic. The work is designed to generate thought and discussion around ideas of home ownership and of how, in a modern age dominated by digital communication, we can form and maintain communities.
By involving a group performance, site-specific sculpture and issues surrounding social politics, these pieces develop ideas that have long been part of Lynch’s work. Her News You Can Use series, performed in Edinburgh and London in 2007, encouraged performers to pick up handmade props, overcome their self-consciousness and re-enact news stories together. Recent works in her series Gob-ons (2013) consist of simplified drawings of everyday items, such as barbeques, salt shakers and plants that are transformed into sculptural objects. In creating them, Lynch is exploring what it is that makes these seemingly frivolous objects into artworks. When exhibited they are often shown in multiples, drawing our attention to the fact that they are not unique and encouraging us to think about the purpose of the gallery space.