An exhibition marking the start of a new relationship between Arts Council England
and the National Trust
will take place at Tattershall Castle from 8 23 of August 2009. The new initiative is aimed at promoting contemporary art in historic properties. The 15th century medieval castle, owned by the National Trust, will be transformed into a spectacular contemporary art gallery.
Tattershall Castle is a unique, early brick castle keep. Built between 1434 - 46 by Ralph Cromwell, Lord Treasurer to Henry VI, it became a highly visible symbol of his wealth, an example of medieval bling at its best, hence the title of the show House of Bling.
The artists, Sarah Price, Geraldine Pilgrim, Catherine Bertola, Linda Florence, and KMA (Kit Monkman and Tom Wexler) have been commissioned to produce new art works inspired by the buildings history. Each artist will work within a specific area of the five-storey monument including the cellars and surrounding grounds.
Alison Lloyd, Head of Visual Arts and Literature, Arts Council England, East Midlands says: This is a 'must-see' event in Lincolnshire with internationally renowned artists. It is just the beginning of the Arts Council's partnership with the National Trust and we are thrilled that the East Midlands is among the first to be involved."
Linda Florence, whose exciting work includes projects for the V&A , will produce a large scale work cut into the lawn in front of Tattershalls castle keep involving hundreds of hours of painstaking grass cutting. The work will reveal itself to visitors as they climb the castles stone stairs to gain the best viewpoint from the embattled castle roof. Squadron members from RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire have pledged their spare time to help complete the commission.
Catherine Bertola's recent projects include a prestigious commission for the V&A Museum, Everything and Nothing. For Tattershall, she has been inspired by the textiles that would have originally adorned the walls of the castle. She is creating a site-specific new work that incorporates images of spinning and weaving from folk and fairy tales. A series of visually stunning 'golden cobwebs made by Bertola and hung in the castle, will tease out the castle's rich history, and illustrate the passing of time.
Geraldine Pilgrim specialises in installations for unusual buildings, and created a highly successful work for English Heritage's Belsay Hall in 2007. At Tattershall, she has been inspired by the medieval imagery associated with towers, including the enduring legend of the 'damsel in distress', trapped in a turret. Pilgrim is creating a highly charged work that will use packing cases and crates to reveal the castle's myths, exploring and exposing the real and imagined histories of the castle that have been packed away over hundreds of years.
KMA have proved themselves expert at dramatically transforming iconic spaces, notably their pedestrian Swan Lake in London's Trafalgar Square in 2007. At Tattershall, they will use film and audio to bring the dark and vaulted castle cellars alive. The artists' updated and anarchic version of a 'tour guide' will weave fact and fiction, in a narrative that will gradually unfold to visitors as they walk through the atmospheric spaces of the old cellars. The guide tells the story of Lord Ralph Cromwell, who built the castle, and Lord Curzon, who saved it.
Sarah Price will create a secret wild garden in the castle grounds. Price, trained as an artist but is also a very successful garden designer. She is a Chelsea Flower Show Silver medalist and will be designer of the botanical garden for the 2012 Olympic Park. Over the centuries, the castle fell into disrepair and ruin but was rescued and restored in 1912. Prices Tattershall garden is inspired by the period when the castle was abandoned and overgrown.
Rebecca Speight, Director for the National Trust East Midlands says: This is Tattershall Castle as visitors have never seen it before and the perfect opportunity to enjoy the best of contemporary art in an iconic heritage building. We are thrilled that the stories of the people and architecture of such a dramatic medieval building can inspire really innovative and exciting contemporary art.