The concept was devised 20 years ago by the artist in his early teens, and he has spent the last five years developing the ‘Fragile Fight’ project into a ‘one of a kind’ fusion of art and conservation. Matthew chose to work with the Kent based Eurobond Adhesives to develop a bonding method that would be optically clear, very strong and which had complete controllability.
Eurobond’s technical team worked to develop a UV light curing adhesive to bond together the 200 individual crystal glass pieces. Eurobond technical manager Kevin Henry explained: ‘’Our solution was to use Eurobond’s ‘Ultimate’ glass bonding adhesive which would ensure the clarity and strength required.
‘’Some of the problems that we had to overcome included ensuring that sufficient UV light intensity and the correct wavelength of UV light could penetrate the glass through to the glue line. In addition, we had to find a safe and suitable UV light adhesive curing system that was lightweight and easy to handle around the ever-evolving delicate structure.
“As UK distributor for German UV equipment manufacturer Dr Honle, we found the UV(A)LED hand lamp was ideally suited to the task.”
The first entire skeletal artwork took a year to create and was completed a few days before the country and the world experienced record breaking temperatures directly attributed to climate change. This symbolic and relevant piece of artwork, developed over 20 years, could not have been finished at a more poignant time.
Created with over 200 individually cast crystal bones and compositionally assembled in a foetal position, the sculpture is a juxtaposition of life, death and fragility. It is set within its 1.5 tonne monolithic illuminated circle which represents the protective womb and cycle of life.
During its year-long fabrication the skeleton and its skull were exhibited at 10 Downing Street to launch the COP-26 climate change event. Now complete the art work will go on a global tour, spreading its message and showcasing its solutions. The journey will start in the artist’s hometown of Margate, Kent where the artwork was completed and will be on display in a purpose built gallery space hidden from the public eye from the 1 October 2022 to 31 January 2023.
The first phase of the exhibition is intended to be extremely intimate, and part of the exhibition’s narrative is one-on-one viewings of the sculpture, allowing only silence, light and the artist to interact with the viewer, giving them a chance to reflect on its message. Click here to book your experience, see an introduction video and learn more about the project.