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Fire Guards

The Fire Guard series started in the Spanish Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale. The artist Lara Almarcegui had installed in the various rooms, piles of rubble, glass, sand etcetera which corresponded to the materials and quantities used in the construction of the Spanish Pavilion itself. What struck me was the presence in the room containing nothing but rubble, of a single fire extinguisher. (In case the bricks caught fire?) There was, of course, the requirement for extinguishers to be equipped in every single part of the exhibitions. I became acutely aware of their presence like silent sentinels of safety. Hence the title Fire Guards.

Subsequently, I have taken an interest in the ubiquity of their attendance in all sorts of public places—especially in art venues—and photographed them in situ. They are very much taken for granted and perhaps considered insignificant by the general art viewer but I find their quiet and undemonstrative occupancy in the corners of all the rooms, whether in bright daylight or darkened spaces, compelling. The significantly bright red colour of these sentinels is in distinct contrast to their quiet and undemonstrative demeanour.  They need to be seen when necessary.

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