RUSSELL BAMBER

John Kinross Scholar in 1989

How did the experience affect you as an individual?
The John Kinross Scholarship was the most amazing opportunity for me, and something that I would not have been able to experience had it not been for the scholarship. It had a huge impact on me and enabled me to visit places I’d only dreamed I would one day see. I had a list of places I wanted to see: The Anatomical Theatre, Bologna: The Sanctuary of the Madonna, San Luca; Tivoli Gardens and Hadrian’s Villa; as well as the usual sites of Florence and Rome. I saw them all, ‘wild’ camping in some bushes in The Forum; a vineyard adjacent to Tivoli Gardens, and travelling as cheaply as possible.

The whole experience and journey was my own pilgrimage and fundamental to my work (and continues to be so).

What was the impact on your practice?
The John Kinross Fellowship made a massive impact on my practise, and cemented my use of ecclesiastical architectural flourishes, styles and decoration within my work. It also reinforced my desire for the audience to physically participate in a piece of work, and in some way, be guided on a physical adventure as well as an aesthetic journey. The journey that the John Kinross Scholarship enabled me to start, has been invaluable, has stayed with me for over thirty years and continues to have an impact on my sculptural practise, and my whole way of thinking.

Carefully selecting traditional craftsmanship and gleaning embellishments for re interpretation.

What would you say the long term impact has been on yourself and you work?
The John Kinross Scholarship has had a colossal, beneficial and continuing impact on my life and my work.

As well as falling in love with Bologna, (where I went Christmas shopping every year for five years), and was the first place I took my partner to, we have also taken our 8 and 5 year old to Venice Art Biennale.

I was also a joint owner of London’s first Venetian cicheti restaurant, where every year we held group exhibitions during London Design Festival which were annually featured in Icon Design Trail magazine.

My work has continued to investigate architectural elements, and grown in scale, still utilising ecclesiastical form, but also engaging architectural features from 70’s housing estates. My recent research trip to Bra, (near Milan) (funded by Abet Laminati) also incorporated a trip to Barolo and Chiesa della Madonna and Chiesa di Barolo, whose tiled floor directly influenced my Ziggurat” pieces (2019).

The core element to my work continues to be the investigation into sculptural forms as a journey – both physical and conceptual – and presenting the viewer/participant with a subtle, but unexpected choice, (a choice that changes one’s experience) and the smallest moment for contemplation within our hectic lives.