A FINE BALANCE
AN EXHIBITION OF ART AND HANDMADE OBJECTS BY FORTY ARTISTS AND MAKERS FROM EAST ANGLIA AT THE STABLES, HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK
12 JULY – 1 NOVEMBER 2020
A Fine Balance will be the fourth pop-up exhibition of art and handmade objects by artists and makers from East Anglia held in The Stables at Houghton Hall and curated by Paul Vater and Paul Barratt of Country and Contemporary. The exhibition will feature recent work by more than 40 artists and makers who explore narratives that reference our landscape, the creatures that share it, natural materials and processes, and how mankind’s activities affect and influence it. The fine balance these artists seek is often a moment, or a tipping point that brings attention to an aspect of our surroundings that has been overlooked or undervalued.
The situation we now find ourselves in collectively, as the Covid-19 epidemic runs its devastating course means that our relationship with ‘the great outdoors’ has probably changed forever. The artists and makers we have included in the exhibition are ahead of the curve, creating memorable images that will chime with the public, post lockdown. During the last four months we have all had to become aware of our vulnerability to forces we mistakenly assumed we had mastered. We respond viscerally to a favourite view or landscape, much as we would if our home or family were under threat. The exhibition holds up a mirror to what we perceive, or have hidden, in the complex confluence between the sustainable and natural, the artificial and man-made.
Some of the artists and makers have chosen to look at a highly maintained version of the countryside and our place within it. Others employ sustainable materials to create pleasing pieces intended to be handled and used every day. Others look into the natural phenomena and practical activities that are frequently personal to us in terms of our physical impact on the planet whether through recycling and re-assigning waste to new purposes. While others explore areas that are not quite urban or rural, but like much of modern Britain, somewhere in-between.
The exhibition is open from Sunday 12 July to 1 November, to coincide with the same opening times as the Anish Kapoor sculpture exhibition held throughout the gardens and park at Houghton Hall. Check the Houghton Hall website to see opening times and to book tickets for entry onto the estate. https://www.houghtonhall.com/book-tickets/
Makers are: ARTISTS
Natalie Odile Lang
Steve Gore Rowe
Full artist profiles are available on https://contemporaryandcountry.com/
DATES AND OPENING TIMES
Check the Houghton Hall website for opening times and to book tickets for entry to the estate. Social distancing in compliance with UK government guidelines are expected to be observed by visitors, please make yourself aware of what these are before your visit. If you are travelling by car follow the brown signs off the A148 Fakenham to King’s Lynn Road PE31 6EY.
The venue has been provided by kind permission of the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley. Houghton Hall is one of Norfolk’s finest houses, it encourages recreation and relaxation throughout the grounds and has created suitable spaces for displaying large-scale installations by leading contemporary artists within a formal garden setting as well as the park. Our exhibition will be held in the Stables at Houghton Hall to coincide with a solo exhibition by the renowned sculptor Anish Kapoor.
For more details of previous exhibitions please go to https://contemporaryandcountry.com/
MORE ABOUT CONTEMPORARY & COUNTRY
Contemporary and Country (C&C) present contemporary art and the handmade by established artists and makers based in the East of England in pop-up exhibitions at non-gallery spaces that celebrate our rural surroundings. The artists and makers we display live and work in rural locations, or include the natural world in their subject matter or production process. Together they bring about a closer understanding of the countryside, its people and landscape. They look creatively beyond the passing trend and encourage greater consideration for nature, as its appreciation and preservation becomes ever more prescient to our time.
Please contact Paul Vater or Paul Barratt on 07943 291834
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
An interesting fact: The exhibition title comes from Rohinton Mistry’s novel A Fine Balance, published in 1996. The book was set in 1975 and traces the lives of four main characters whose interconnected lives are heavily impacted by their circumstances in a fictional Indian city, as they slip between a succession of karmic banana skins during the course of the narrative. Mistry’s powerful story exposes familiar fault lines within the values of a society where the characters lives are in jeopardy, brought about by familial conventions, institutional injustice and political expedience.
A one-way art exhibition is set to give audiences a socially distanced dose of culture when it opens in Norwich. The ‘Belated Spring Art Show’ will feature the work of more than 35 artists at a pop-up exhibition in Pivotal House based in the heart of the city. The building is known to many as the old Looses building in Orford Yard, just off Red Lion Street, Norwich, NR1 3TB
The Spring Art Show was originally due to take place at The Forum in April but was cancelled as lockdown came into force. Now organisers have creatively reimagined the space at Pivotal House into a unique one-way art experience. With lockdown forcing the closure of many galleries, museums and other cultural locations organiser and artist Brian Korteling hopes the event will give audiences and artists the dose of culture they’ve been missing.
Brian Korteling said: “We are really excited as artists to finally have the opportunity to show our work again and, after months of lockdown, most of us have new and exciting work to show. “We are still very aware of the threat posed by Covid-19 and want to do what we can to mitigate any risk to visitors so have put various measures in place. The layout of the exhibition is designed around a one-way system making social distancing much easier to manage. There will also be hand sanitisers at the entrance and exit as well as signage to remind people to be cautious and considerate to other visitors. We look forward to welcoming audiences to the exhibition at this unique and iconic city venue.”
The show will feature a selection of paintings, prints, drawings, photography, sculpture, ceramics and assemblages by both professional and amateur artists. All art works will be for sale and there will be a selection of cards and prints available to buy.
Mr Korteling has lived in Norfolk for most of his life and has been a full-time artist since 2009 after a career in graphic design. Each autumn he hosts Art Fair East will fellow Norwich artist Will Teather. Working mostly with oil paint, Mr Korteling has recently started to explore ideas in 3D with pieces shown in Cley Contemporary 2016 and 2017 and the Waveney Valley Sculpture Trail in 2016, where he won the Judges prize for Waveney Glitch. He has also won prizes in the Norwich Paint Out plein air competition.
The exhibition will be open from Saturday 11th July until Saturday 25th July (closed Mondays) from 10am to 5pm. For more information please visit www.springartshow.co.uk
About Brian Korteling
Brian left a career in graphic design to become a freelance artist in May 2009. Since then he has experimented with many painting styles, themes and techniques. He enjoys exploring materials and primarily paints on wood, MDF, hessian, and more recently, aluminium. When Brian returned to painting in 2009 his main subject matter was trees, especially the bare branches of winter and the vivid palette of autumn. Since then he has expanded his practice and experimented with various styles and ideas with the most recent being inspired by the Japanese art of Kintsugi where bowls are broken and mended using gold to fill the gaps. These new pieces will be on show at this year’s Spring Art Show. More recently he has returned to studying the landscape, painting en plein air and in the studio.
Photos supplied: Brian Korteling outside Pivotal House in Norwich. Credit: Brian Korteling Summer Sung by Brian Korteling. Credit: Brian Korteling Flock by Brian Korteling. Credit: Brian Korteling A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (after Manet) by Will Teather. Credit Will Teather Northsea Seascape 2 by David Hall. Credit: David Hall
Sainsbury Centre to reopen on Tuesday 7 July 2020
The Sainsbury Centre is delighted to announce the reopening of its building in just under two weeks following a period of temporary closure during the Covid-19 pandemic. From Tuesday 7 July visitors are invited to explore astonishing new exhibitions and the inspiring Sainsbury Collection, with refreshments available from the Modern Life Café, whilst stringent safety measures ensure public health guidelines are being followed at all times.
This announcement comes after the UK government updated its advice on 23 June for leisure facilities and tourist attractions, confirming that people in England will be permitted to visit museums and galleries that have implemented the necessary social distancing and hygiene practises from Saturday 4 July. The Sainsbury Centre is pleased to be among the first university art gallery and museums in the country able to reopen this summer, enabling members of the public to once again enjoy art and improve their wellbeing during this challenging time.
From Tuesday 7 July visitors to the Sainsbury Centre can expect a welcoming and inspiring experience, facilitated by new safety systems and procedures. These include all exhibition tickets being pre-booked for specific time slots, in order to reduce the number of people in the galleries and ensure social distancing can be adhered to. Signage will guide visitors around the building on new one-way routes, helped by staff and volunteers wearing the appropriate masks/visors. Rigorous cleaning will be undertaken at regular intervals.
On offer are two exhibitions looking at hugely popular movements and styles. Art Deco by the Sea opened in February to rave reviews and has been extended until 20 September 2020. It celebrates the glamour and innovation of the British coastline in the 1920s and 30s and is accompanied by a pop-up shop stocked with books, postcards and jewellery.
Coinciding with the Sainsbury Centre reopening is the launch of Art Nouveau: The Nature of Dreams, running until 31 December 2020. This new exhibition charts the lesser-known English origins of the Art Nouveau movement, featuring dazzling ceramics, furniture, glass, jewellery, paintings, posters and prints, sculptures and textiles.
The Sainsbury Collection, on permanent display at the heart of the building, will be free to explore with food and drink available to takeaway from the Modern Life Café. The Sculpture Park, which has remained open throughout lockdown, continues to provide 350 acres of attractive parkland open to everyone to enjoy art, architecture and the natural environment.
Ghislaine Wood, Acting Director, says, “While our Sculpture Park has remained open throughout lockdown, we are pleased to announce the reopening of the Sainsbury Centre from Tuesday 7 July. The remarkable open-plan architecture of the Sainsbury Centre has helped us move towards reopening safely and implementing social distancing. We hope our visitors will now come enjoy the galleries and exciting exhibitions programme planned for the summer."
The Black Prince Film Watch Along Event Sunday 14th June starting at 2pm
Ancient House, Museum of Thetford Life and the Sikh Museum Initiative are hosting an exciting media event around the life of Maharajah Duleep Singh, last Maharajah of Punjab and Squire of Elveden Hall, near Thetford, Norfolk UK – a virtual screening of the 2017 film, ‘The Black Prince’ starring Satinder Sartaaj, Indian singer, songwriter, actor and poet, followed by an after-show discussion on Facebook Live.
Audiences around the world are invited to press ‘play’ at 2pm on Sunday 14th June on the film (via Netflix, DVD, or other streaming services) and follow along with the chat on Twitter via the hashtag #BlackPrinceAlong. Ancient House, the Sikh Museum Initiative, Essex Cultural Diversity Project and others will be tweeting historical context and interesting information along the way.
At 4.15pm there will be a Facebook Live event, supported by Taranjit Singh-Developer/technologist at Taran3d, with a panel to chat about the film and an opportunity for discussion and asking questions. The panel will be chaired by Melissa Hawker, Learning Officer, Norfolk Museums Service and feature contributions from Satinder Sartaaj, who played Maharajah Duleep Singh, Peter Bance, Sikh Historian, Rup Magon who played Arur Singh in the film, Gurinder Mann Singh from the Sikh Museum Initiative, Festival of Norfolk and Punjab Director Indi Sandhu, and film producer Jasjeet Singh. The virtual audience are invited to submit questions via Twitter or on the chat. You can book your space in the virtual room via this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-black-prince-watch-along-tickets-108081927956?fbclid=IwAR0ZMw9XzKu-2oLRI-95e_nzgSDQwcN_B_CkfKf_tA9yW2kNVzdV0micuL8
‘The Black Prince’ is a 2017 international historical drama film directed by Kavi Raz and features the acting debut of Satinder Sartaaj.The film explores the troubled life of Maharaja Duleep Singh - the last king of Punjab whose kingdom was taken from him by the British in the 1840s. Duleep Singh was separated from his mother and brought to England where he was befriended by Queen Victoria. He was allowed to return to India only twice under controlled circumstances and tried to regain his kingdom in later life.
Speaking about the event Satinder Sartaaj said: “It is wonderful to know that my film is bringing people around the world together to view the story of the last Maharajah of Punjab from their own homes. I am looking forward to answering questions during the after-show discussion.”
Cllr. John Ward, Chairman of the Norfolk Joint Museums Committee, Norfolk County Council said: “We’re delighted that Ancient House Museum is involved in this exciting digital event. The Museum owes its existence to the Duleep Singh family as it was the Maharajah’s son, Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, who gave Ancient House to the people of Thetford. In recent years, staff at the museum have been working to research and interpret this important story, collaborating with the Sikh Museum Initiative and Essex Cultural Diversity Project on two major cultural festivals connecting Thetford, Norfolk and Punjab. This latest event will further extend these links – we hope it’ll bring people together from across the world to enjoy a fascinating shared experience.”
You can read more about Ancient House and Duleep Singh in the attached press release
Currie and Reich – The Colin Currie Quartet
Norwich Playhouse Monday 20 May NNFestival 2019
a review by Marion de Mello Catlin
The Colin Currie Quartet played a blinder last night in Norwich Playhouse. I didn’t know about them before the concert and was interested to go to a performance that was all percussion based as the percussion section rarely gets the glory in an orchestra, and I also like the music of Steve Reich. The Playhouse was packed with not a spare seat in the house – great to see such a turnout – obviously many people better informed than me!
The Quartet was formed fairly recently in 2018 by Colin Currie who is clearly completely passionate about percussion and the Quartet. After the first piece (Mallet Quartet by Joseph Perreira) he introduced the Quartet and explained that the composer Steve Reich was very important to the raison d’être of the quartet and that the works pivot around his compositions, with two pieces in the programme by Reich.
It was really helpful to have an in-depth but concise explanation of the basis of each piece, especially for those if us who are not familiar with this kind of music. I wish that more musicians would do that – Currie was good at it. The stage was full with instruments I hadn’t seen before – marimbas it turns out – two with long pipes and two with shorter, 4 musicians each with two ‘lollipop’ drumsticks in each hand, four per person. At times, the playing was so complex and blended that it was hard to discern the source of the sound. The marimbas’ deep tones flowed together, especially the bass instruments and sounded almost electronic.
Colin played a couple of numbers on his own Xenakis’ Rebonds B for solo percussion and Stockhausen’s Vibra-Elufa. Together they played Kevin Volans Four Marimbas and Reich’s Mallet Quartet before the last piece Reich’s Drumming Part 1.
The speed rhythm and energy was impressive throughout the evening, though none of the first 5 pieces could come near the finale piece Drumming Part 1 composed by Steve Reich. It was like the Olympics of percussion in its performance and virtuosity. Colin explained the basis of the piece, a simple (on its own) basic rhythm underpinning the whole piece beaten out on 8 tuned drums, again 4 musicians working together and in relays. The same 12 notes as a single rhythm repeated which, as an audience member was a godsend at times as it enabled me to find a point to return to and steady path throughout. Colin explained phasing and how the notes interlock and rotate around each other which really helped the appreciation of the piece.
Musically it was interesting, visually it was fascinating – watching the percussionists work in waves, first all together then periodically standing back, their arms working at blurring speed throughout. Physically, it was a feat of musicianship, almost unbelievable and breathtaking technical skill rivalling the most extreme of acrobats, daredevil motorcyclists or demanding magical coordination and muscular energy. I can’t tell you exactly that it was a lovely piece of music as I was bewitched and hypnotised by the technical skill. After what seemed an eaon of performance, they reached a crescendo and then instantly stopped with a resounding and precise ‘crack’, absolutely as one. In the drumming Olympics, then there is absolutely no doubt that they ran away with the Gold.
If you missed it, or want to listen to a sample there’s a YouTube link below but I would recommend catching a live performance if you ever get the chance. The Quartet is new and this is their debut programme so it is worth watching out for more as they add to their repertoire – they have an amazing future I am sure and hopefully will be back in Norwich before too long.
Hello Culture Shifters
It has been ages since the last update as I have been working a lot in King’s Lynn where there are lots of exciting things developing and busy with a number of projects in the first part of the year including new editions of Art in Norwich and Music in Norwich, but now I am back and excited by a number of new events coming up this week and lasting through May. This is going to be a long read I’m afraid and it's taken a few days to pull it all together so I hope you get it in time for the weekend.
This week, everyone has been excited about the Norwich City Football promotion which will be great for Norwich in many ways and has certainly given the city a lift already. But there is more going on in the city centre this week and next.
Norwich City of Stories
This week Norwich BID and Visit Norwich rebranded their organisations and also launched a new brand for the city too, building on the UNESCO City of Literature and the City of Stories campaign. The brand is intended to help everyone who loves Norwich to tell other people about the city through the stories of the city and their own stories – everyone has a story to tell and Norwich has many, both historical and contemporary. It is a good theme to work with and will help enable people to get to know the inner depths of this multi-layered city. The new brand launched on Tuesday 7 May with a brass band parading the city streets and a new poem dedicated to the City of Stories called 'What is a Norwich' which you can hear here. You can also find out all about the City of Stories campaign and how you can get involved here. https://www.cityofstories.co.uk/a-new-brand-for-norwich
The Norfolk & Norwich Festival is preparing for its big public launch event today in the city centre as circus artist Chris Bullzini undertakes a daring tight-ropewalking act - he will go on a 230-metre-long balance from Jarrold’s department store across Norwich Market, to the top of The Forum, on a journey celebrating Norwich, its history and its people. It’s a free event and crowds of people are expected. It starts at 9pm so get there in good time. I am not sure I will be able to watch – it is mad! https://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/what-s-on/n-n-festival-2019-tighrope-walk-norwich-1-6040181
The launch kicks off a whole 17 days of events - so much so that I don’t know where to start. They are packed throughout the days and evenings with lots of free events. I’ll be attending events and will be blogging plus letting you know about good events to attend so follow me on www.theshiftnorwich.org.uk or on Facebook group @makingnorwichUKcityofculture or on Twitter @norwichcultcity. You should also follow the Norfolk & Norwich Festival Twitter feed@NNFest for updates as well as their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NNFestival/
Also part of the Festival is the Norwich City of Literature weekend Friday 24-Sunday 26 May programmed by the National Centre for Writing with a whole host of literary events, some at Dragon Hall and some in the Spiegeltent in Chapelfield Gardens in the centre of Norwich. Again too much to list all but some highlights are the Harriet Martineau Lecture with Sarah Perry and also on 21 May the wonderful Ali Smith appears at Norwich Playhouse. Tickets for this show from nnfestival.org.uk or 01603 766400
W.G. Sebald exhibitions
Timed to be part of the Festival are also two linked exhibitions dedicated to Max (WG) Sebald, a writer and lecturer at UEA who was much-loved before his untimely death in 2001. This year would have been his 75th birthday and so Norwich Castle and the Sainsbury Centre have brought together a duo of exhibitions to celebrate his life and work. Although many people in Norwich may not know much about him, he was a very well-respected international author and these exhibitions are a great opportunity to find out more about him.
Sebald was born in Germany in 1944 and relocated to Norfolk to become Lecturer at the University of East Anglia in 1970. In the space of a decade, Sebald underwent a meteoric rise from unknown academic to internationally celebrated writer, winning numerous awards before his premature death in 2001.
He is primarily known for his four novels that he described as ‘prose fiction’, Vertigo (1990), The Emigrants (1992), The Rings of Saturn (1995) and Austerlitz (2001). His literature explores history, memory, loss, identity and what it meant to be German in the wake of the Second World War. The exhibition at the Castle is sponsored by East Anglian Art Fund and The BookHive. The Book Hive, Norwich ‘s independent bookshop in London Street has a special interest with bookshop owner Henry having published Ariadne’s Thread – a book written by Philippa Comber about Sebald’s transition as a writer. The Book Hive is running a Sebald Book Club through the summer – find out about it here – you can buy a membership with or without a set of Sebald books https://www.thebookhive.co.uk/shop/
The two exhibitions are:
W.G. Sebald: Far away – but from where?
Sainsbury Centre, UEA 11 May – 18 August 2019
Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park
Norwich NR4 7TJ
Lines of Sight: W.G. Sebald’s East Anglia
An exhibition celebrating the work of the author W.G. Sebald
Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery
10 May 2019 – 5 January 2020
The exhibition includes many photographs and artefacts relating to one of Sebald’s most well-known books The Rings of Saturn, a prose fiction which traced a walking journey around the Suffolk coastline, starting on the train in Norwich and returning there some months later. The book is slow, walking pace even and pensive. I started to read it many years ago and didn’t finish but this exhibition has inspired me to try again. I found this article in the New Yorker very illuminating and helpful.
Looking around the exhibition today, it is clear that he was writing and taking photographs of even the smallest incident or detail - a kind of collector of life, a documenter or recorder of minutiae. He started writing as an escape from academic writing, his job, sadly curtailed by his early death from a heart attack resulting in a car accident at 57. Anyway, he is clearly someone that should be better valued and celebrated in Norwich and hopefully these exhibitions will bring him more clearly into the public eye and heart as he was evidently very much loved and respected at UEA. I’ll let you know about the Sainsbury Centre exhibition in the next missive as it opens on Saturday.
Also at Norwich Castle (and other venues around the city centre) as part of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival artist Will Teather is exhibiting his amazing painted globes, three dimensional scenarios. Very clever and show Will's skill as an artist. He is also doing a talk and a workshop - details below.
Saturday 11 May – Sunday 1 September
Globes Across Norwich City Centre
Artist talk, Wednesday 22 May, 2pm, Norwich Castle, included in museum admission.
Artist workshop, Wednesday 22 May, 3pm, Norwich Castle, included in museum admission, but spaces are limited, call 01603 493625 to book your space. More info
East Gallery NUA
Anthony Caro : Iron in the Soul at NUA East Gallery 8 May to 20 July
Sadly I missed the preview of this exhibition which opened earlier this week at the East Gallery in St Andrew’s Street with a piece in St George’s Street outside the main entrance to the University of the Arts. A post-war artist, Caro was internationally-renowned, working for many years until his death in 2013. The exhibition includes 20 pieces that have not previously been on public view spanning from 1951-2011. Monumental pieces with bright colours, Caro was a 1960s revolutionary who changed the face of gallery sculpture. The exhibition is curated by Neil Powell of NUA.
Henry Moore at Houghton Hall 1 May – 29 September 2019
Further afield, a new exhibition has opened at Houghton Hall, near King’s Lynn - it’s a set of sculpture by Henry Moore, curated by Sebastiano Barassi and the Henry Moore Foundation. The exhibition shows the link between Moore’s work and his observation of nature and natural forms. I spent a very happy few hours there last week and also at the pop-up art and craft show Norfolk by Design which is in the Old Stables. I have written a review with some photos here. It is highly recommended as you can buy a ticket to tour the house, the permanent outdoor sculpture collection as well as Moore and Norfolk by Design.
The Edge of Things at Blickling 17 May-27 October 2019
If you like large stately homes then the National Trust Blickling Estate also has a new exhibition starting 17 May called The Edge of Things. Following on from their very successful and dramatic The Word Defiant last year, they are continuing to work with their book collection, this time with artists Neville Gabie and Joan Gabie. Looking through a contemporary lens, the artists bring to life four books exploring lost language and the edge of science, space and discovery.
Find out more at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blickling or on Twitter and Instagram @BlicklingNT Facebook @BlicklingEstateNT
GroundWork Gallery, 17 Purfleet, King’s Lynn
GroundWork Gallery in King’s Lynn also has an exhibition which opened in March. GroundWork specialises in environmental art and this current exhibition is called Water Rising, concentrating on the effects of rising water levels and runs to 1 June 2019.
Curator Veronica Sekules is running two events next week – a one-day conference on 17 May (details and booking here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/water-rising-art-innovation-change-and-development-tickets-59087414046
and a Creative Writing Masterclass with Patricia Mullen on Monday 20 May 10am-4pm
A Journey Through Water exploring Poetic Geography
Bring lunch and your preferred notebook and pens but tea, coffee and materials are provided. £45, students and under 25s £25
Find out more https://www.groundworkgallery.com/
Open Studios and Harleston & Waveney Art Trail
Many other exhibitions start during May including the Harleston and Waveney Art Trail and Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios which sees artists studios all over Norfolk opening their doors over weekends. It is a great opportunity to buy work and also see how artists do what they do, and maybe you will also be inspired to have a go yourself. You can pick up one of the yellow brochures from many places around the county and also download a map here
Fairhurst Gallery, OUTPOST, The Hostry and Mandell’s Gallery also have new exhibitions – you can find out about these and more at www.artinnorwich.org.uk or by perusing the ISSUU version of the booklet here.
We’ve talked a lot about visual art but there’s lots of music coming up too. The Norfolk & Norwich Festival has a full programme of classical music including the Radio 3 New Generation Artists – young up and coming musicians as well as more established performers such as Britten Sinfonia playing Beethoven with renowned conductor Thomas Ades, Rachel Podger and Tenebrae with more contemporary musicians – keyboard player and organist Kit Downes returns to his native Norwich, and also not to miss, vibrant entertainer Chilly Gonzales, Norwegian jazz pianist Tord Gustavsen Trio and Venezuelan singer Nella Rojas. There is really too much to mention here so best to check out the Norfolk & Norwich Festival programme here at www.nnfestival.org.uk
Music in Norwich
The Festival dominates the music in May but there are many other great concerts including the Russian Philharmonic at Theatre Royal on 19 May, Mozart Orchestra on Saturday 11th May – for other concerts please check www.musicinnorwich.org.uk
Tuesday 14 May St George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth
Creative Centres Summit: Exploring Creating Great Places in Changing Times
Following on from last year’s very successful Creative Places Summit about artist spaces which brought together people who run artists’ spaces from all over the UK. This time the focus is on changes to the high street. The Creative Centres Summit will explore the changing nature of town centres and high streets and the role of creatives (individuals and organisations) in creating great places in this dynamic environment.
Keynote Speech by Bill Grimsey
Setting the scene - how and why the high street has changed so dramatically and rapidly as well as predictions for more changes to come. Bill Grimsey worked his way up from a butcher's boy in a local department store to being head of Iceland food stores and has earned a well-founded reputation as a turnaround specialist. He recently wrote the Grimsey Review, highlighting that radical transformation is required if our high streets are to have any chance of survival. www.vanishinghighstreet.com
There are many more speakers and it will be a great value day. It is programmed by Kaavous Clayton of originalprojects; who has organised this summit as part of Making Waves Together, a Creative People and Places project funded by the National Lottery.
Book via eventbrite reduced price tickets for residents at £20, full price £40
Also by originalprojects;
'At the End of Lines' 11 May to 13 July 2019, noon to 6pm
An exhibition of paintings made in Norwich and Great Yarmouth in 2019.
originalprojects; have taken over the former Marks & Spencer store in the middle of Great Yarmouth and are starting to programme exhibitions. It is called Ex Marks the Spot and I would suggest that we all watch this space in the coming months. End of the Lines involves 29 artists from Norwich and Great Yarmouth, with many well-known names exhibiting alongside newer artists and is part of Making Waves Together, a Creative People and Places project funded by the National Lottery. With thanks to National Lottery Players.
Thanks also to support from the East Anglia Art Fund.
Into Opera are currently recruiting for two roles in Norfolk:
Norfolk Into Opera Festival Coordinator
Deadline Saturday 11th May.
More job opportunities
Norfolk Arts Forum has a whole list of job opportunities with some great roles in arts and culture. Rather than list them here, here is a link to the latest newsletter and jobs.
That's all for now as I need to send it out before it all goes out of date, but stand by for more next week.
PS Just to be clear and upfront, I don't get paid to write any of this, it is just me sharing what I know about. I sometimes get invited to previews and launches and that enables me to know more and so I can write better guidance. If you want me to send something out let me know and I will if I can. Also follow me on Facebook @marioncatlin @artinnorwich @musicinnorwich
Twitter @norwichcultcity @marionofnorwich @artinnorwich @musicinnorwich
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Henry Moore : Nature and Inspiration at Houghton Hall
1 May to 29 September 2019
‘The observation of nature is part of an artist’s life, it enlarges his form,-knowledge, keeps him fresh and from working only by formula, and feeds inspiration. The human figure is what interests me most deeply, but I have found principles of form and rhythm from the study of natural objects such as pebbles, rocks, bones, trees, plants etc. There is, in Nature a limitless variety of shapes and rhythms (and the telescope and microscope have enlarged the field) from which the sculptor can enlarge his form-knowledge experience’ Henry Moore 1934
A real privilege to be sitting in Sky Space – James Turrell’s site-specific, permanent installation at Houghton Hall – writing this review. I am at Houghton Hall to preview the new exhibition of Henry Moore sculptures, curated at Houghton by Sebastiano Barassi and the Henry Moore Foundation at Perry Green, Hertfordshire.
The exhibition is perfectly sited in the grounds and house here at Houghton, with its extraordinary outdoor spaces, vistas and eyelines which allow breathing spaces for large pieces combined with dramatic views and classical interiors which complement smaller sculptures, detail drawings and compositions of artefacts and references inside the house.
The first room, the South Wing Gallery, houses the enormous elephant skull accompanied by a set of etchings showing how Moore observed, drew and reconstructed this eroded bleached object, a gift from friends, into its component parts, abstracting the skull into shapes and details as he progressively studied and sketched the skull, getting to know every curve of the form.
Sebastiano explained Moore’s fascination with nature and human form, geography and sculpture, materials and textures/patterns into landscapes and figures, drawing references from generations of classical artists before him but making the most of his status as a contemporary artist exploring new materials and new relationships.
Working with form and scale Moore became one of the foremost sculptors of his era, choosing to work in a studio in rural Hertfordshire rather than the urban setting of London where he found endless inspiration in flints, bones, birds, hills, sheep and human beings, and the space to explore different backdrops and settings.
Along the ground floor, another small gallery room shows a smallish knobbly flint in a cabinet which was the starting point for Spindle Piece. A series of photographs show the process and progression of the abstraction and scaling up of the flints, approx 200mm high to a monumental bronze via a maquette or working model in fibreglass - a new light-weight material at the time - demonstrating the stages of inspiration through abstraction, enlargement and production.
In the Stone Room on the first floor of the house, are two smaller sculptures. One, Reclining Figure : Bone in Travertine marble clearly shows a relationship between bone and the human body translated into a landscape with open-pored, striated stone chosen to accentuate the layered pattern. Bird Form a dark sculpture made from black serpentine, is juxtaposed with an ancient bronze classical sculpture, linking diagonals - a vehicle for the curator to place and link works in their site specific location.
Out of the window, one of two large pieces located either side of the house occupies a view almost destined to be a frame for this work - a huge long vista leading the eye beyond the huge bronze Vertebrae into the far distance. Again, this work, a huge bronze this time is inspired by three vertebrae stacked together, glistening in the sun and showing the marks inscribed into the surface, allegedly made with a cheese grater - a popular tool in Moore’s studio. It hard to imagine how this piece could exist elsewhere, it looks so at home.
Around the west side of the house, equally dramatic is a white, bone-like fibreglass sculpture, a figure indeterminate from behind but clearly a reclining woman from the front, her arms as arches to the ground, her smooth bodyform crawling along the grass, bonelike but still fulsome. From the house is a view of the back for he sculpture and walking round shows Reclining Figure outlined against the house and set in the grass.
Walking away and into a wooded garden, i find myself in a central spot occupied by The Arch, again fibreglass and bone-white, a large structure to walk through and under but captured by its green and wooded surroundings. Emerging from the garden yet another vista opens up. I am quickly learning that the design of the outdoor spaces at Houghton is almost entirely to explore vistas, sight-lines and perspective.
It is almost impossible to capture the visual and emotional impact of seeing these huge works out in a landscape of such symmetry and perspective that I am compelled to try a number of ways. I am standing at a point with an avenue of planted and sculpted trees directly ahead, creating a most amazing perspective view: the house - a backdrop for the white reclining figure; the arch visible along a diagonal path framed by hedges and to my left Two Piece Reclining Figure : Cut - another large two piece bronze which has a magnetic tension between the two bronze sections with a pavilion/folly framed between them in the distance. With a large Richard Long slate sculpture behind me there was a dramatic long-shot view in all directions. I tried to draw it but scale and perspective made this very hard. I tried to describe it in words - pretty useless too. In the end a diagram had to suffice, the only way that I could hold this image, albeit inadequate anyway. It was literally breath-taking especially when the sun came out and illuminated The Arch.
Approaching the last piece I saw down another long pathway, lined by hedges, a Classical Greek piece, or so it seemed, appeared at the end. Until closer, a truncated figure, a mother and child caught in a tensile gaze with each other, a moment lasting forever. The marks on the bronze resemble the marks on drawings and etchings which no doubt initiated the piece, tender, smooth and strong.
Rounding the corners at Houghton is occasionally literally breathtaking, made remarkable by the fact that the setting cannot just be conjured up at a moments notice as in many galleries - a day or two allocated to mount and dismount and paint to completely change the context. No, this is the result of centuries of care and cultivation, full of wildlife (a hare scampers by as I write) and the work has to fit in - it is a two-way relationship where the art cannot dominate, it has to live alongside the context. The skill of the curator has been to find the perfect spots and match them to works in the Foundation’s collection, a challenge that he has met extraordinarily well.
The exhibition is open 1 May to 29 September so there is time to see it over the coming weeks. It will change as the summer progresses and of course there is a permanent sculpture collection in the grounds which includes work by Richard Long, Rachael Whiteread, James Turrell, Stephen Cox and others. There is space for the energetic to stretch their legs so visit prepared to take your time and enjoys the gardens and permanent collection as well as the Moore. In the stables is Norfolk By Design : Festival, a curated collection of high quality art and crafts for sale by eminent locally-based artists, running alongside the Moore exhibition.
I am told that if you are inspired by this exhibition, the next visit should be to the Henry Moore Foundation at Perry Green, where Moore lived and worked for many years and now a dedicated centre for his life and work - I will be making the trip soon!
For more information about the Moore exhibition and Norfolk by Design : Festival
Photos Marion de Mello Catlin
Yesterday I went to the opening of the new Caroline Fisher Project space in 93a Upper St Giles Street, Norwich. Located above and between Bread Source bakers. Caroline is a ceramicist and most recently, curator of East Gallery NUA and she still teaches on courses at Norwich University of the Arts.
Caroline's intention is to run two or three exhibitions a year, focussing on ceramics that span the breadth or work between utilitarian objects such as bowls and mugs and sculptural forms.
As well as the exhibitions, she is running monthly Clay Conversations on a Friday morning 11am to 12.30pm on the first Friday of the month - an opportunity for ceramicists to get together to talk all things clay - to network, to help each other, to exchange views, ideas and expertise.
During exhibitions, the gallery is open 1pm-5pm on Fridays and Saturdays. It is a beautiful calm space, filled (sparsely) with beautiful things and a really lovely space to hang out and be inspired.
The Word Defiant at Blickling Hall 1st May to 28 October 2018
Last night I attended a private viewing of the newly launched exhibition at Blickling Hall – The Word Defiant - an installation based artwork using books as a starting point. Theatre company Les Enfants Terribles was commissioned to make a set of seven interventions within the National Trust property and stately home Blickling Hall. The artworks respond to the theme of books and threats to them from different quarters – political, environmental or simply because they are out of date.
The exhibition as commissioned by the National Trust to draw attention to the threat to books and the written word, and to highlight the international importance of the library in Blickling’s Long Gallery and its book collection. Each atmospheric installation represents a different way that the written word is at risk. The library and collection of books at Blickling is currently undergoing a comprehensive conservation programme as it has been plagued by damp and deathwatch beetle for many decades. It is hope that The Word Defiant will alert the public to the magnificence of the important collection at Blickling.
So, I arrived at Blickling Hall on foot having parked at the Buckinghamshire Arms pub not far away. Early evening, after a beautiful sunny day and it felt like rain so there was a strange light, common in Norfolk. I was met at the main gate and directed down the drive towards someone, called Sebastian I was told, who would meet me. I felt like a character from Alice in Wonderland as I took a long lonely walk between two tall hedges down a long, long drive towards a distant figure who poked his head out from behind a silver-coloured car and beckoned me towards him. Finally we met and he greeted me and welcomed me to Blickling. It is a long time since I been to the hall and never without crowds of people. I was reminded of what an amazing place it is. I was told to start with the Neglected Word and then directed with a (very polite) handwave towards The Temple – which I couldn’t see for hedges - but I headed off in the indicated direction nevertheless. Gradually I met other wanderers and eventually a pink light appeared. It was the doorway of a small temple and inside, books half-buried in sand which we could walk around and through. I was still not ‘quite on the page’ with what I had come to see. The description of the artists as a theatre company meant I expected a performance but it was when I returned to the house (still under the threat of rain) that I realised we had started with the one outdoor installation first and that the house contained the rest. Once back inside I was given a piece of paper which explained everything, including the introduction at the top of this review. I also started to comprehend that the role of the theatre company was one of artists using the skills of theatrical set designers and that no-one was likely to leap out on me from behind a screen or out of the wallpaper.
The paper sheet I was given introduced seven installations and gave a little background to each one. I have to say that it really helped having some interpretation as it enabled me to get much more from each piece as I followed the trail.
The trail takes you around the house from the grand hallway, through the lush drawing rooms, below stairs and even into the cellars and bathrooms, each piece highlighting a contemporary issue from book-burning in Afghanistan, to censorship in China to redaction in the USA and plain old water damage in places such as Venice – probably this was one of my favourites The Word Drowned – books in a bath – apparently the bath is where bookshops in Venice store their books to protect them from rising tides! And The Word Redacted in the long corridor below stairs where many, many words had been deleted from the memoir Operation Dark Heart. This piece is visually dramatic (as they all are) and accompanied by a Morse code soundtrack. In fact, many of the pieces have some sound attached which adds to the atmosphere, such as Sat Nav instructions that accompany maps and charts flowing from a cabinet in The Word Superseded in the Chinese Dressing Room.
The final point in the trail is the enormous Long Gallery. I had never been in there before and my jaw literally dropped as I entered the room. An incredible decorative plaster ceiling above, metres of book shelves lining the walls and a huge pile of books falling from the shelves, onto the carpet, over the grand piano and out of the window. We were told that all of the books were destined for recycling before being used for the artwork – even that fact is quite startling as many of the books looked ‘valuable’ but are in fact no longer needed.
This exhibition is a great opportunity to take a new look at Blickling Hall – which is completely awesome – in the true sense of the word, combined with these interesting intersections with the interior spaces and furnishings. Both the house and the installations would be interesting on their own, but together they make a compelling reason to visit Blickling Hall this summer.
The exhibition is open now until 28 October
At Blickling Hall and Estate, Norfolk NR11 6NF
Spring Newsletter 2018
A Place in the World (9 March to 28 April 2018) is an exhibition of photography and film by women artists from across the world, timed to coincide with the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World (WoW) Festival coming to Norwich for the first time in April 2018.
The exhibition includes artists Alexis Hunter, Rosalind Nashashibi and Lucy Skaer, Ifeoma Onyefulu, Hannah Starkey, Erika Tan, Susan Trangmar and Valerie Wilmer.
Erika Tan, The ‘Forgotten’ Weaver, 2017, ©the artist
I have curated the show to bring together a group of works examining female identity in relation to place. ‘Place’ here refers to location- that of the artist and the subject of the work- or to social place and how gender can construct a woman artist’s place in society. It examines female perspectives on the places where men and women from diverse cultures live and work around the world.
I felt it was important when selecting the show to include works that span the period from the feminist movement of the 1970s to today. I wasn’t trying to make a survey, but to select works that speak to each other across generations and reflect women’s lives, as seen by UK based artists from different backgrounds.
As part of the WoW Festival, on Friday 27 April, NUA will host an ‘in conversation’ between Caroline Douglas of the Contemporary Art Society and Valeria Napoleone, renowned collector of work by women artists. They will discuss their new initiative VN XX CAS, the purpose of which is to support the acquisition of significant works by female artists by museums and galleries.
The event will take place in St Andrew’s House, just opposite East Gallery. It is free to attend and tickets can be booked on the Norwich Arts Centre website.
And finally an update on the Revealing Munnings project - we are well on the way to our target to conserve NUA’s group of early Munnings drawings but we still need your help to reach the target and commission the conservation work.
Every donation is very much appreciated, so please follow the link to donate online:
If you didn’t manage to see our ‘Revealing Munnings’ show in February, there will be an exhibition of the conserved drawings alongside some early oil paintings by Munnings in 2019- so watch this space for more details.
Thank you for your support and look forward to seeing you in the gallery soon.
With warmest wishes,
Dr Caroline Fisher
Cavendish House, St Andrews Street, Norwich, NR2 4AE
Author Marion Catlin
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