Installations in the Blue Gallery and the Ice House at Brantwood – John Ruskin’s home
Brantwood Coniston Cumbria LA21 8AD
23 July – 19 September 2021
For my exhibition at Brantwood, I have created two site specific art installations. THE MIND HAS MOUNTAINS is an immersive installation for Brantwood’s Blue Gallery. The visitor entering the gallery is surrounded by a room filling vista made up of large unframed etchings extending from floor to ceiling. These are images of structures from inside the human skull, evoking a mountainous landscape reminiscent of the Lake District and the Swiss Alps where I grew up and which Ruskin frequently visited. He famously said that ‘Mountains are the bones of the earth‘ and he utilized the skeleton metaphor recurrently in his works using it to invoke the very essence of a thing. This gallery used to be Ruskin’s library; the images, being structures from the inside of the human skull, shift the space into a place where consciousness resides – a space to think, like the library it used to be.
The installation consists of 14 images, each presented as a triptych. Printed on heavy cotton paper, showing the original deckled edges, the etchings have a direct physical impact on the viewer. I have combined different etching techniques to achieve the intensity of the blacks and the range of structures within these etchings. In the process of creating the large steel etching plates I have used earth from Brantwood gardens, Alpine earth from the Swiss and Liechtenstein mountains and sand from the Thames river in Woolwich, East London, near the Thames Side print studio, which I use for all my printmaking.
In the Ice House located in Brantwood Gardens, I have collaborated with sound artist Natasha Lohan to create a site specific light and sound installation. The viewer, immersed in the soundscape encounters the light installation CROWN OF CREATION which slowly pulsating fades into the dark and lights up again questioning our perception of human supremacy over nature. Natasha has created a sound composition with recordings gathered through Spring 2021 from within the Ice House, throughout the environments of the Brantwood Estate and at the Thameside Print Studios, London.
Natasha Lohan’s practice begins with walking and listening in an environment, making field recordings, sometimes using specialist mics that draw out sounds not accessible to the human ear and also using her own voice to tease out possible relationships between body and landscape.
The recording is also available on Soundcloud; it can be listened to anywhere via the QR code below.
‘CAROL WYSS – IN SITU’
Filmmaker Peter Bromley, with the support from 1968 Film Group, has created a new documentary ‘Carol Wyss – In Situ’. The film covers making and installing the work for Brantwood including the planning at my London Studio and printmaking at the Thames-Side print studio Woolwich. It is now available to watch online.
This has been one of the most technically and conceptually ambitious projects I have undertaken. It would not have been possible without the following organisations, businesses, and people:
Swiss Cultural Fund
1968 Film Group
Carol Wyss In Situ
Thames-side Print Studio
J. Yuen Ling Chiu
John Purcell Paper