A Well-Burnished Time Machine
It’s almost impossible for an artist to stand back and describe the essence of their own practice but Simon Shaffer has written the following piece regarding my work, for which I’m incredibly grateful:-
Bronze making and working is a practice of great antiquity which is constantly being remade and reworked. So it has a fascinating relation with its own histories. Andrew Lacey is a master bronze artist who is never forgetful of the legacies and after-effects of that lengthy and complex tradition.
Reflexion on an artist's own practice can often disappoint: it is the work itself, after all, that conveys the key message. But what picks out Lacey's enterprises is the care and painstaking attention with which he studies and opens up what mattered in past practice, and the traces it has left in written accounts and recipes and, much more fascinatingly, in material relics and technical ruses. He has always been peculiarly brilliant at teasing out the gaps and spaces between what is said to have been done, and the tactics of casting and shaping and burnishing that must have been followed in practice. Never using the final result as the sole or dominant criterion of success, this is a project much taken with incompletion, with apparent failure or frustration, in which blocked sprues or defective investment become eloquent. Based on a deep sympathy as well as understanding of Renaissance bronze working and its deeds, the historical development of timely working, as least as much as the triumphs of the finished work, turn into an apparently inexhaustible resource for artful experiment and artistic achievement; the furnace and its charge as a well-burnished time machine.
Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge