Installation using bracken in The Great Hall, The Abbey, Sutton Courtenay
About ‘Time Transfigured’
I was invited to create new work inspired by a 14th Century Abbey at Sutton Courtenay as part of the exhibition ‘Unravelling Time’ in 2015.
Visiting the Abbey I became fascinated by the extensive grounds surrounding the main building and in particular a rambling grassy path, which seemed to meander this way and that. Walking along it, I found the views from the path constantly changing. I picked my way through a belt of woodland, then the trees ended and the path opened out onto an expanse of freshly mown lawn. The path skirted around the edges of the boundary fence and then back to the centre ground again, winding around objects in it’s way. Sometimes the trail wasn’t obvious; I ducked to avoid branches, it petered out in places or came to an abrupt end leading me to search for where it started again.
I decided I wanted to create a path for the project that could unfold as a record of time spent walking. I began to extend the walks around the Abbey, choosing to walk over common land and creating my own routes. As I walked I gathered elements of the landscape that I found around me. I was drawn to the reddish brown colour of bracken and the fact that it was old growth dying back, a material that could be seen as being ‘past it’s best’ before new shoots emerge. I decided I wanted to bring the outdoors inside creating the installation Time Transfigured in The Great Hall elevating in value a material gathered from common land. The title Time Transfigured is a reference to the surrealist artist René Magritte and the painting Time Transfixed (1938) which features the startling juxtaposition of a train coming out of a fireplace. At The Abbey, the fireplace motif plays an integral role in the piece as bracken, so often viewed as a weed, is traditionally managed by burning, connecting the outdoors, the work and the building. Time Transfigured continues my work exploring the spatial shift between two and three dimensions together with a strong time based element.