The projection screen in this installation is a horizontal plane
suspended two feet above the gallery floor. The projector beam
is a vertical cone of light which appears almost solid in the
particle-filled atmosphere. Rain appears to be falling down this
cone of light and onto the screen below, transforming the screen
into a surface of water pitted by raindrops. The sound of heavy
rain falling in a forest fills the acoustic space. Is this water
surface, this pond, or river, also falling from the projector?
Or is it an accumulation of water particles; a record of the
rainfall since the exhibition began?
Rainfall was first exhibited at the Slow Dancer Co-op
in Liverpool in 1983, in what had previously been a cell in the
erstwhile police headquarters building. A prisoner's dream? A
hole in the roof through which the rain is falling? A shaft of
daylight illuminating the dark interior of the cell ... hallucination
... artifice ... dream ... or metaphor?
Trapped in the despair of the early eighties, Rainfall was
to be a magical place; a sort of pagan shrine where renewal and
rebirth were still a possibility.
Rainfall marks the beginning of a shift away from earlier,
more structured, classicist work of the seventies, towards more
emotionally charged expressionist work, such as Sky Light.
(Signs of the Times catalogue)
"Chris Welsby has produced a substantial body of work in
single screen film and installation. Like Hamish Fulton he does
not touch the landscape directly; nature is allowed to direct
the content of his films. In his installation Rainfall ,
an artificial timelessness, created by a vertically projected
film loop of flowing rain, interrupts the unification of time
achieved in the viewing of unedited film of the weather. The
potential of the installation as a sanctuary of peace binds the
landscape to the mind via technology, the interface between which
forms the core of Welsby's work. The installation's purity is
underlined by the illusion of nature remaining untouched by any
theatrical use of physical materials other than film itself."
(Chrissie Iles - 1990, Signs of the Times catalogue)
Made with assistance from The British Council.
Sound Realization, recording, and mix by Robert MacNevin