Jackie Winsor. Burnt Piece. 1977-78
ARTIST, JACKIE WINSOR: My name is Jackie Winsor, and the piece we're talking about is called Burnt Piece. I had watched the Trade towers go up in the early 1970s, and you know, I lived in the area. And I was very worried about them falling over.
And as a matter of fact, I was so worried that I had dreams of buildings falling in slow motion. I had dreams of buildings burning. So I woke up one morning from a dream of making a piece that had fire in it. So in this one, I used fire as the vehicle of the unknown, and that which I knew very little about, into what I knew a little bit more about, concrete. Not that I knew a lot. And bringing them together and you might say I facilitated the artwork.
The structure was made initially out of wood. The concrete was poured like a cast. I wanted it to be strong enough to maintain itself through the intensity of the moment, of the fire. So I built the piece with reinforcement in the concrete. I used rebar, which is very heavy, put into concrete buildings and bridges. And I use all kinds of metal mesh and some, I assumed, would not do so well, others would do better. The wood part was really there to surrender in the exchange.
When the piece was finished, all you could see is concrete, wood, concrete, wood on all sides, with an aperture in the center. And we set it on four bricks, and we made a fire underneath it. And so it worked, you might say, the way a chimney works. And depending on how the wind was blowing, out through these various windows at one time or another, it would poof out smoke or fire much like somebody who would smoke a cigarette and blow circles. So the piece in its completion, of course, has the markings of what it went through, both in my making it and that five hour fire that it went through.