MFA student Lester Korzilius’ Ascension installation at Chichester Festival Theatre.

MFA student Lester Korzilius answers questions about Ascension, his exciting installation in the atrium of the Minerva Theatre at Chichester Festival Theatre.

Please tell us why Ascension?

I am interested in how the viewer experiences the work within an environment. Ascension refers to the spiralling upwards of the pieces, both for the individual pieces themselves, but also for the feeling the viewer has when looking at them.

What was the original seed of the idea behind this piece? You mentioned the form was influenced by visits to the Vatican Museum and the Guggenheim in New York?

Both these spaces have impressive volumes dominated by spiralling ramps/galleries. It is an amazing feeling being in these spaces, viewing them from a static position, but equally as interesting when moving through them. I wanted to echo these experiential movement through these spaces in the viewer's perception of Ascension.

How did you fabricate it?

The work is fabricated from acrylic paint on polyurethane foam on a wire mesh over a light steel armature. The work is very light and was designed for an area of approximately 4m square.

How many parts is the installation comprised of, and did you create it wholly in your student studio space at the College?

The work comprises of six pieces. I made these at West Dean, in my studio space and in the covered Sculpture Courtyard that allowed me to spray paint the pieces when viewing them all together - this during the rainy weather earlier this year.

Please tell us about how you managed the installation in the atrium at Chichester Festival Theatre.

I managed the installation single-handed. They provided scaffolding in the centre of the atrium, the use of a single-person mobile access platform, and an occasional long-ladder. The geometry of the space was very constricted and there only a few points accessible from the access platform for secondary fixing. My architectural background was useful as I was able to interrogate the as-built drawings for the atrium to determine how to structurally suspend the work.

Was this the space you had in mind at the outset?

The space for the work was originally one of the exhibition spaces at West Dean. While the work was on display at West Dean, my wife and I attended a performance at the Chichester Festival Theatre, and it occurred to me that Ascension would work very well in the atrium of the Minerva. Fortunately, the Theatre agreed.

You're an architect - have you always also been an artist? Do you consider architecture as art on a grand scale?

My interest as architect was always to practice architecture as an art, although as an owner and partner of a large practice, there are considerable limitations and constraints in the realisation of works. Working as an artist is freer and allows me to experiment more radically than I could in mainstream architectural practice. Long-term I aim to fuse the architectural and art practice, hopefully producing excellent works for a variety of scales and used.

Why did you choose to do your MFA at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation?

I have been in the area for many years. I did the Foundation Diploma (FDAD) at West Dean several years ago whilst working full-time. I very much enjoyed both the programme and the feel of West Dean, and eventually, several years later, I enrolled on the MFA programme full-time. West Dean at its best offers an emphasis and nurturing of the individual which is much harder to achieve in larger institutions.

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MFA student Lester Korzilius’ Ascension installation at Chichester Festival Theatre. Photo Credit Michael Austen.
MFA student Lester Korzilius’ Ascension installation at Chichester Festival Theatre. Photo Credit Michael Austen.