Sculpture Prize 2008

Gareth Williams

The Friends committee studied eight proposals for the sculpture this year and selected, amongst robust competition, Gareth Williams’ sculpture depicting a hand carved, monumental football.  In a recent interview Williams stated, “…it was an idea that just stuck”. On initial viewing Ip dip dip- a 19th Century Football would appear to be a supersized, caricatured football with all the attributes a hand-made sphere, modelled swiftly, might have. The jokey lace-up style ball is poised between two trees in a scenario redolent of the final moments of an imaginary penalty shoot out. The out-of-place scale humorously engages the viewer and the sculpture encourages us to focus not just on subject matter, but also on how the sculpture occupies, and is shaped by, its surroundings.

There is a probing battle between the size of the object, our imagination and the sports ground. The enlargement amplifies the gravity of the subject, any associations, meanings or memories are rushed to the fore whilst the competitive Arena is a fitting location for the challenge.  His title, “Ip dip dip” insinuates the awkward moments surrounding the selection process and ‘team building’. The folklore was embraced by the cunning and devious to humiliate, embarrass and demoralise: heavy with significance the sky-blue ball must not be approached lightly.