Design and realisation of a site-specific sculpture commission, involving the drilling of a 24-metre borehole and the installation of solar-powered pumping equipment.


Project Category: Long-Term

In May 2007 I was awarded the Jerwood Sculpture Prize for my proposal, Spring. Rather than construct and import something into the park, my proposal involved drilling a borehole into the vast aquifer below the site. 

Water from the borehole was pumped to the surface where it appeared as a cloud of fine mist. Spring’s external form and appearance would vary significantly depending on weather and light conditions, but the reliable water source meant that it remained a permanent feature of the park.

As well as having a formal relationship with the nearby sculptures, Spring had a direct and active relationship with the landscape itself. Using the actual water present in the ground, visible vapour irrigated the turf and surrounding plants, vanished into the atmosphere, and soaked back into the ground.

Project Credits

Client: The Jerwood Foundation

Commission Production: Parker Harris

Drilling Contractor: WB+AD Morgan

Jerwood Sculpture Prize 2007

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Research & Development

Spring within the wider context of Ragley Hall’s landscape park, designed by Capability Brown

British Geological Survey borehole report, 2008

Project installation diagram

Initial project model, produced at the prize shortlisting stage

View of Ragley Hall from the south, with the white drilling rig and working vehicles visible to the left of the stand of trees

WB+AD Morgan’s drilling rig

Spring’s foundations, 30th May, 4:50pm

19th Century terracotta drainage channels which we found when digging to lay Spring’s electrical cables

Installing the pump and manifold below ground

30th May 2008, 4:50pm

4th June 2008, 4:25pm

30th May 2008: Dusk. The vapour stopped being produced when there was not enough daylight to power the borehole’s pump

12th June 2008. Project unveiling, 1pm. The day was heavily overcast, meaning there was little vapour being produced as power from the solar panel was lower than it was on sunnier days. I considered Spring to be ‘working’ whether vapour was visible or not, as the system was responsive to light levels throughout the day. However, the subtle cloud of vapour at the unveiling posed a challenge for the event photographer

12th June 2008, 5:12pm.

12th June 2008, late afternoon