Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Brief for Site Specific Hanging

The Brief

To produce a hanging for an exhibition at St Nicholas Church, Gloucester as part of the Three Choirs Festival in August 2010.

The Site

St Nicholas is a church located in the centre of Gloucester, a short walk from the cathedral, and dates back to the 12th century. It is no longer used for services but remains consecrated and is open to the public in spring and summer, frequently hosting art exhibitions. The church is noted for its pronounced lean which can be clearly seen when you stand in the nave – the pillars on the north side lean outwards as does the archway. During the week-long festival, there will be an exhibition of quilts in the centre nave and other artwork under the tower, along the north wall and on pews - this is where the hanging will be. The church will also be used for a number of music workshops and concerts.

Special Considerations

As this is an historic building, there can be no alteration or damage to the fabric of the church i.e. it is not possible to attach hooks or nails to the walls, although anything already there can be used. However, the curator is happy to tie items around the pillars, throw lines over beams or existing cables or hang very large artworks from the tower. In addition, there is a hinged pair of six foot hanging screens available and items can be placed on the floor under the tower, propped against walls and placed on pews.

The building is consecrated so although artwork need not be religious, it must not be offensive or disrespectful of the Christian faith.
St Nicholas Church from Westgate street.

Floor Plan
South window

West Window
My proposal is to place the hanging under the west window - the distance from the windowsill to the floor is 3m - so that it can be seen from the nave.  As I mentioned before, I am hoping it will resemble a crack showing the storm/chaos outside.  The next picture has been reproduced with permission from stnicholaschurchuk.webs.com/ and I have superimposed an image of the hanging to show how it might look.  When I met the curator, we discussed draping it from the windowsill and tying to a hook that is already there but as an alternative if this doesn't look right, I have a telescopic pole which will support it without showing (the kind you see at festivals with banners or windsocks on).

Mock-up of hanging in situ.

Following on from my earlier posts, I have decided to pursue the idea of using tucks to emphasise the design.   As it would be difficult to back the hanging after it has been distorted, I tried another sample with a dark backing to see that the effect with two layers is still what I want.  It does make the tucks appear softer, so in the sample shown below I tried slashing them to add some drama.  You can also see in the lighter section that I experimented with kantha stitching but felt it was too organised
Sample showing slashed tucks on left.
The last picture shows how I have started adding tucks to the bottom half of the hanging  - even with only a few in, you can see how it is starting to change shape.  When I have done some more, I will decide whether to slash some or all and possibly add more colour behind to show through in places.


Max the Lobster said...

quite a challenge but who do the legs belong to in the Souyh window picture? looks like they are wearin gfig leaves!!!

Heather said...

Wonderful venue for an exhibition although you need to be adaptable re the hanging methods and I love your idea of the crack in the wall with chaos beyond it. Wish I had legs like those under the South window!
I like the texture that the tucks in your other piece provide.

Jackie said...

Lovely. The colours in the hanging are perfect for the location. Its a night mare when you hang something in a non gallery space isn't it?

JaneO said...

The legs belong to Adam and Eve who stayed on from an earlier exhibition - I had forgotten they were in the photo! BTW, my kids think I stole the idea of a crack in the wall from the current series of Doctor Who, but I thought of it first, honest!