Since 2001 a unique composite piece, which has come to be called “What is the Case”, has been a central focus of David Gilbert’s work. It is made up of individual small sculptures, mostly made of balsa wood, each one housed in a clear Perspex box. There are over 100 pieces so far and when they have been exhibited, as they have been in Liverpool in 2008 during its time as European Capital of Culture and in Lancaster University’s Peter Scott Gallery in 2009, they have been arranged in groups of 10 or 12 on rectangular slate bases. Balsa is a soft and vulnerable material and in its own way, difficult to carve. Its vulnerability created the need for the boxes for protection, but the boxes themselves then became a visual element in the whole piece both framing the individual forms and helping to integrate the separate components into a single piece of work.