We The People: Working with Claire Fontaine & Karst Gallery

We were approached by Plymouth-based contemporary art producer Vickie Fear to assist artist Claire Fontaine and the Karst Gallery in the production of the artwork 'UK (Burnt /Unburnt)' which formed part of the exhibition 'We The People Are The Work'.

UK (Burnt/Unburnt), (2011-17) is a map of Great Britain composed with matchsticks planted into the wall and subsequently ignited. The aspect of the shape of the country once burnt becomes a shadow that keeps in itself the marks and the traces of the extinguished fire. 

Conceived by the artist Claire Fontaine as the trace of an action that we witness in the aftermath, as a sign of a tragedy that we perceived too late. This work whose form is at the same time a painting (made by the fire), a sculpture (of the remanence of the matches) and a video (showing the action of the burning in the space), acts as a strong disturbance of the white cube: its pungent smell invades the space and incongruously brings a sense of danger and precariousness to the visitors.

Fab Lab Plymouth were commissioned by We The People Are The Work producer Vickie Fear to help create a large map of the UK, that would span four 8ft x 4ft flameproof MDF sheets, with 58,000 individual holes to hold matchsticks. During the private view of the exhibition, these matches would all be lit.

58,000 match sized holes was no problem for our large 8ft x 4ft CNC router, so we set to work preparing the cutting file and started machining. Check out the below images showing the map after being lit, with burnt areas and smoke marks filling the gallery walls.


'We The People Are The Work' was envisioned to be:

"A poetic and emotional exploration of our feelings during unstable and trying times, it suggests that the events unfolding across the planet are the cause of the climate change inside our souls."

We The People Are The Work was presented by PVAPG (Plymouth Visual Art Programming Group), a partnership between The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art, KARST, Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University, Plymouth Arts Centre and The Box, Plymouth

We The People Are The Work was part of Horizon, a collaborative two year programme of visual contemporary arts, funded through Arts Council England's Ambition for Excellence fund and led by Plymouth Culture.

To find out more about We The People Are The Work, visit their website here, and get in touch with us via to discuss any large scale CNC machining jobs you or your business may have in mind.