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Contemporary artists respond to the World Heritage status of the Lake District with six installations for Lakes Ignite 2018

Di Mainstone at Blackwell, The Arts and Crafts House preparing for Time Mirror. Pic by Ben Barden

[S]ix newly commissioned, contemporary pieces of art will be installed at various locations across the Lake District in 2018 in response to the Lake District becoming a World Heritage site.

The artworks, which include performance, sculpture, virtual reality and an inflatable installation, will form the programme Lakes Ignite 2018.

The Lake District National Park was awarded World Heritage Site status for its cultural landscape in July 2017 and the Lakes Ignite commissions are responding to the theme Cultural Landscape.

The artists are: Philip Stanier and the Strange Names Collective, Di Mainstone, Studio MUTT, Michael Shaw, Brian and George Fell and Charlie Whinney.

The visual art installations will be on view at different locations from January 2018 through to July 2018.

Aileen McEvoy, curator for Lakes Ignite, said: “The artists that have been selected have proposed really interesting, challenging commissions that respond to the theme cultural landscape in a thought provoking way.

The artists’ role is to encourage us to think afresh about the world around us. Each of the six artworks will present a fresh perspective on the heritage of Lake District. I hope they will spark conversations and return visits”.

Usha Mistry, from Lakes Culture, added: “Lakes Ignite is about bringing together tourism and the arts. The Lake District has a defined culture, rich in music, theatre, poetry and painting. We want to show that Cumbria is also a great place to experience new contemporary culture and that the iconic landscapes of the Lake District continue to influence artists today.”

The commissions relate to one, or all of the three themes for which the World Heritage Status inscription was given:

  • Identity – the way man’s interaction with the landscape has shaped what we see today
  • Inspiration – a landscape that has inspired, and continues to inspire, artists, writers and visitors
  • Conservation – a landscape that is worth preserving for future generations

The installations will be located at venues including Langdale Estates, Rheged, Ambleside Salutation Hotel and Spa, University of Cumbria Ambleside campus, Blackwell, The Arts and Crafts House and Grizedale Forest

The Commissions in order of their opening

Michael Shaw: Slung a site-specific inflatable at Rheged. To view from January 10. A large inflatable sculpture called Slung will breathe life in the Mountain Hall at Rheged, the multidisciplinary arts space and culture hub. Michael Shaw says that it has a mild flavour of Dr Seuss, with a hint of Haribos and the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland. Composed of two forms, which unite aerially, the sculpture suggests a pair of lungs that cyclically inflate and deflate as though breathing. Highly coloured with fluorescent pink and orange stripes, the sculpture will strike a dynamic presence.

Brian and George Fell: Arctic Char at The Ambleside Salutation Hotel from January. A sculpture depicting a shoal of Arctic Char, hand made in steel. Brian Fell is an artist based at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where he works with his son George. He has created many popular landmark sculptures on permanent display around the UK. The Arctic Char is one of the Lake District’s most notable examples of wildlife, the fish’s presence in the lakes dates back to the Ice Age and its survival there is an inspiring example of conservation.

Studio MUTT (Studio MUTT is James Crawford, Graham Burn and Alex Turner) The Ordnance Pavilion at Wainwrights’ Inn, Langdale Estates from January. Mutt is an art, architecture and design studio based in both London and Liverpool. They will be creating The Ordnance Pavilion, an architectural intervention that will celebrate the extraordinary Ordnance Survey and the impact the mappings have had on our human and cultural interaction with the landscape. The piece will be an interactive and semi inhabitable sculpture. MUTT is interested in the almost absurd and laborious process that people went through when re-measuring the landscape over roughly 30 years -something that seems completely alien in our GPS navigated world of today

Charlie Whinney: Mountains We Made at Grizedale Forest from January. Mountains We Made is created by Cumbrian based artist Whinney, from a series of ten steam bent sections of sustainably sourced oak from Grizedale Forest. Mountains We Made will now become part of the permanent collection at Grizedale Forest and is available to view from January 2018.

Di Mainstone: Time Mirror at Blackwell, The Arts and Crafts House from May. Time Mirror is an interactive sculpture that will allow audiences of all ages to experience and capture the stunning Lake District surroundings in an experimental and abstract way. The Time Mirror is a large tessellated funnel shaped structure, covered in mirrors that can spin 360 degrees to reflect the landscape from any angle. It can also tilt to reflect the sky and mountains. It will also reflect back any participants and viewers that interact with it capturing them in the Lake District landscape. Visitors will be able to use the time mirror device to create abstract portraits of themselves – set within the landscape at Blackwell.

The Strange Names Collective (Philip Stanier): The Buried Moon at The University of Cumbria, Ambleside campus from May The Buried Moon is a multi-disciplinary art project of three parts, exploring landscape, the mysterious interior of the earth, and the cultural history of geology. It will consist of:

  • The Buried Moon – A performance by Philip Stanier, Penny Newell and Gillian Lees (end of May and end of June)
  • The Lives of Mountains – An exhibition of a series of artworks by Wayne Burrows
  • The Fall through the Earth – A VR experience of video and drone footage, 360 degree photography and artworks by Wayne Burrows, animated by Adam York Gregory

For more information visit follow us @LakesCulture

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