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Thirteen (maquette)

Discover the model for an ambitious installation that shows an incredible piece of Gallery history.

A creative mind can transform the simple act of opening a door into a piece of kinetic sculpture. In 1991, artist Alan Storey transformed an electric door into the engine of a drawing machine with a sculpture created for the Surrey Art Gallery called Thirteen. When a visitor entered the Gallery, the motion from the glass door would trigger a pulley and cable system that caused thirteen triangles suspended by piano wires to rise and fall in a sine wave pattern, drawing on the wall as they moved. In celebration of the Surrey Art Gallery’s 40th anniversary, the preliminary model or “maquette” of this impressive installation is going to be displayed from September 19 to December 13 as part of the Gallery’s fall exhibitions.

Thirteen was specifically commissioned as the highlight of Alan Storey’s ten-year career retrospective of his sculptures at the Surrey Art Gallery from December 8, 1991 to January 26, 1992. Like many of his other works, Thirteen invites the visitor to consider the consequences of one’s presence in a given space, specifically the cause and effect nature of our actions. The movement of the triangular drawing devices equipped with black pens are only visible to visitors in the second exhibit hall even though it is the person walking into the first exhibit hall who causes their action.

How this artwork functioned is beautifully rendered by the working miniature sculpture created by Storey to plan its final installation. Now part of the Surrey Art Gallery’s permanent collection, the model of Thirteen also serves as an archival record of the physical layout of the Surrey Art Gallery until 2002 when the space was renovated.

See this artwork along with others that celebrate the Gallery’s 40 year history of showcasing contemporary art.

Image credit (top): Overhead view of the maquette of Thirteen (1991) by Alan Storey. The maquette shows the pulley and cable system and the thirteen wire-suspended triangles in the second room of the old Surrey Art Gallery.

Image credit (middle): Installation shot of Alan Storey's Thirteen (1991) in the second room of the Surrey Art Gallery from 1991 to 1992.