In their latest blog on this summer’s York Curiouser art project, Lara Goodband and Hazel Colquhoun explore the challenges of making art in York’s most historical builds
Inevitably, working in York, a number of sites are in, on, or next to rather important old structures and some Scheduled Ancient Monuments.
For the York Curiouser project, artist Sally Greaves-Lord will be introducing textiles directly on to the city walls, in St Anthony’s Gardens (next to the Quilt Museum). The main issue is how they can be attached…
We’ve had discussions with our incredibly helpful friends at City of York Council and English Heritage around whether the mortar between the stones is as ancient as the stones themselves (it’s not, but it still needs to be treated with care).
Apparently, we need to talk to ‘the masons down at the depot’ – which sounds like an adventure in itself.
Heinrich and Palmer are creating a new artwork for the Red Tower, which is very exciting – before this year’s York Residents’ weekend, it hadn’t been opened or used publicly in living memory.
Again, it’s an important part of the built heritage, which the artists are taking into account as they think about building something freestanding within the tower, or onto the doorway.
This will mean that nothing actually comes into contact with the building itself. It’s resulted in a good old-fashioned survey of the tower with tape measure and sketchbook, so that whatever they make will fit exactly without damaging those lovely red walls.
And at Fishergate Postern Tower, Janet Hodgson has been developing a range of different scenarios to realise her vision for a quite complicated installation.
There’s no power, and no water, we can’t attach things to the walls (although apparently the floors and ceilings are not so old, so maybe we can hang things?) and the twisty-turny spiral staircase is so tricky that all of the invigilators will require special training to get people up and down them.
Janet also wants to use film, sound and sculpture. We are now looking into whisper generators (or maybe something with batteries…?)
Next time – our wonderful poet John Wedgwood Clarke has written a series of poems about the snickets and alleyways of York – look out for some taster postcards of his amazing work in cafés and libraries around the city at Easter, and we’ll be working out how to actually display the poetry on snicket walls for June 1.
And finally: two more York Curiouser artists, Jacques Nimki and Karen Thompson, will be preparing their artworks, involving a lot of collection, distribution and exploring of York’s wildflowers, corners, crevices and ledges.
- Hazel Colquhoun, an independent public art commissioning curator, and Lara Goodband, an independent visual art curator, will regularly blog on YorkMix about the York Curiouser project
- York Curiouser artworks will cover a range of media including light, sound, ceramics, poetry and textiles, developed for specific city locations
- Read all the York Curiouser blogs here
- For more information see the project’s Facebook page, its Instagram images or follow @yorkcuriouser on Twitter