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First public solo sculpture exhibition in the UK by Helaine Blumenfeld OBE opens at Salisbury Cathedral
Helaine Blumenfeld exhibition at Salisbury Cathedral.© Ash Mills 2013.

SALISBURY.- Salisbury Cathedral hosts the first major retrospective of Helaine Blumenfeld OBE, one of Britain’s leading contemporary sculptors working in marble and bronze. The Messenger of the Spirit brings together 18 extraordinarily beautiful pieces spanning her career of more than four decades. The works are displayed throughout the Cathedral itself with 8 monumental works installed in the Cathedral Close.

Jacquiline Creswell, Visual Arts Advisor for Salisbury Cathedral, worked closely with Helaine Blumenfeld for the past three years to curate what is an inspirational show in the Cathedral, providing the opportunity for the thousands of visitors to see this sculptor’s work.

Of the exhibition, Jacquiline Creswell says “The commanding presence of Helaine Blumenfeld's graceful translucent forms immediately struck me on my first encounter with them. I was aware of an extraordinary energy that captured my imagination. I felt compelled to attempt to combine these ethereal forms with the Gothic magnificence of Salisbury Cathedral, an architectural space where the everyday and ordinary are suspended.”

The exhibition shares its title with one of Blumenfeld’s best known pieces ‘Messenger of the Spirit’, inspired by the belief expressed in the Old Testament that the Angel is the closest representative of God that we as humans can experience. ‘Angel’ in Biblical Hebrew is malakh, or ‘messenger’.

Helaine Blumenfeld comments, “I am honoured and excited to have the opportunity to have this important exhibition of my work at Salisbury Cathedral. The sculptures that I am showing resonate with the beauty and meaningfulness of this setting. I hope to inspire and surprise the viewer, leading them into spaces in the Cathedral that they have not visited before.”

“For me sculpture has been a journey to try and reach beyond the physical, emotional and cultural boundaries that limit our perception as well as our growth as spiritual beings. Through sculpture I have tried to create a visual language that does not depend on words but on images for its impact.”

Blumenfeld’s work has been shown in over 70 exhibitions worldwide and her sculptures feature in numerous international public and private collections. In 2011 Helaine Blumenfeld was awarded an Honorary OBE in recognition of her outstanding contribution to art.

Having completed over 80 commissions most recently Blumenfeld created the new London landmark ‘Tempesta’ commissioned for The Lancasters, Hyde Park, which was unveiled on 2 May 2012. Throughout 2012 a selection of her monumental works are displayed at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Salisbury is unique amongst medieval English cathedrals having been built in just 38 years (1220 -1258) in a single architectural style, early English Gothic. The tower and spire (Britain’s tallest) were added about 50 years later. The Cathedral itself is a testimony to the faith and practical skills of those who erected it. As well as a historic building, it is a living church and a place of spirituality and prayer. It attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

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