Written by Gisele Bone

At Hazard, I approached Martin Hamblen’s work  ‘Level head’, from the side, shimmying up, not wanting to disturb this apparent performance of endurance.  I asked if it was alright to take a photo and enquired as to his well-being.  He said it wasn’t his neck that hurt so much as his knees.  As we carried on talking he removed the 6ft spirit level balancing on his head and rested on it, like a gardener with a hoe.  We hadn’t spoken previously but had seen each other at different events and as we talked I realised that this wasn’t so much a show of endurance, like Two Steps Forward, One Step Back had appeared.  Situated in front of St Ann’s Church, dressed in a suit but without a tie and wearing brown leather lace-up shoes, Hamblen must have been sweating like a pig.

Hamblen asked several questions, surprising me as this was the second time I had been the interviewed when I had expected it to be the other way round.  Watching passers by while we were talking, and observing the audience from a distance, I saw how, like with many of the works at Hazard, people looked on, rubber-necked, commented to those they were with and continued walking.  Some people did stop and interact with the pieces, but the majority look on with mild to severe confusion.

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Image credit: Gisele Bone / Martin Hamblen