Curating art in churches
This two-year initiative focuses on forming partnerships to deliver contemporary art exhibitions in Anglican churches and cathedrals. Recent case studies and guidelines for curating temporary exhibitions will also be drawn up over the two-year period.
We are currently working with All Saints and St Andrew's Church, Kingston, Cambs to commission one of the artists based at nearby Wysing Art Centre to make work for an exhibition within the church in Summer 2019. The work will respond to the church's historic wall paintings and be set within the context of a wider arts festival to engage the wider community around Kingston and give prominence to this beautiful rural church.
Artist Bettina Furnée has been selected to take forward this commission. Furnée’s proposed project departs from one of the most striking images depicted on the walls of the church; the Wheel of the Seven Acts of Corporal Mercy, which is set above an image of the Tree of Evil nourished by demons and (mostly lost) depictions of the Seven Deadly Sins. Furnée’s commission will explore the ways in which the binary depictions of good and evil common to the medieval period have given way to a greater spectrum of manifestations of human behaviour. Her installation will also reflect on the fragmentary and partial nature of the wall paintings, playfully filling in blanks and speculating on lost text and images.
Kindly supported by Allchurches Trust, the Jerusalem Trust and the Headley Trust.
The first Art in Churches project was a site-responsive installation hosted by St John the Baptist church in Newcastle. Ritournelle (once more, from the top) by Katia Kameli is the result of a short residency in Summer 2017, programmed in collaboration with Platforma, an arts and refugee network. This site-specific art work filled the small diamond panes of glass with coloured film, in patterns that recalled design and architecture motifs native to some of the primary countries from which refugees and migrants relocate to Newcastle. Countries and designs referenced include Punjabi Phulkari and Congolese Kuba textiles and Iraqi mosaic design.
Wanting also to create a sound work, Kameli invited migrants and refugees from the city, as well as members of the church choir, to sing a song which reminds them of home. These songs were recorded in situ at St John the Baptist and were available to listen to in the church.
The residency, production and installation of the work was managed by Laura Purseglove, Project Curator for Art and Christianity and the Church Buildings Division of the Church of England.
Kindly supported by Allchurches Trust, Arts Council of England, the Jerusalem Trust, the Headley Trust and the Pea Green Boat Community First Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.
Case studies of temporary visual arts projects in churches and cathedrals are available here to download:
Lent exhibitions at St Michael's Discoed (a small parish rural church)
Angel by Rose Finn-Kelcey at St Paul's Bow Common (an urban church in a multi-ethnic area)
St John on Bethnal Green (ongoing exhibitions in The Belfry and church)
Further case studies will be published here in due course.
Commissioning New Art for Churches: a Guide for Parishes and Artists
A pdf to download with details guidance on commissioning new permanent works of art as well as temporary exhibitions. Published in partnership with ChurchCare.
Past curating projects
'A Light Shines in the Darkness', a touring exhibition of artists' films organised by Paul Bayley with Film and Video Umbrella. The programme included:
Suki Chan, Still Point
Alexander and Susan Maris, Uriel
Melanie Manchot, LEAP after the Great Ecstasy
Graham Ellard and Stephen Johnstone, Everything Made Bronze
Kathleen Herbert, Stable
Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson, The Carrier’s Prayer
Christian partner in the Three Faiths Forum Urban Dialogues exhibition.
20 January 2011
All Hallows on the Wall: Host to Jeffrey Charles Henry Peacock evening event.
13 October – 3 Decmber 2010
Wallspace gallery: 'Commission’ an exhibition of contemporary art in British Churches.
26 June – 13 July 2006
City of London Festival: three works by Yoko Ono at St Paul's Cathedral.
27 June – 13 July 2005
City of London Festival: INSIGHT included works by Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson, Adele Prince, Victoria Jones, John Newling, and Rebecca Horn.
St Edmund the King & Martyr, Lombard Street: Tom Gidley Your actual
St Stephen's Walbrook: Simon Hitchens In the Presence of Absence
Banner image: Katia Kameli, Ritournelle (once more, from the top), 2017