We were invited to curate three projects across three different locations as part of the Art and Sacred Places programme, an ecumenical organisation supporting the interaction between art and religion.
For the first project, at St. Peter's in Brighton, we worked with artists Dan Coombs and Duncan Whitely on installations that brought contemporary art techniques into the Church context in order to examine notions of spirituality in today's society.
Secondly, we curated Angel, a dramatic work by artist Rose Finn-Kelcey that was visible 24 hours a day on the façade of St. Paul's Church in east London. Documented by an online catalogue - which includes stunning still and moving images of the work in situ, as well as essays about the work and records of public responses - Angel was the recipient of the ACE Trust Award for temporary commissions for Art in a Religious Context category.
Finally, as a result of the Art and Sacred Places commissions, we were invited by the Cathedral's Fabric Commission to lead the re-design of the choir stalls and organ doors as part of the on-going programme to update Portsmouth Cathedral. Part of the challenge for the team was to create an original response whilst maintaining respect for the building's heritage. We commissioned designers BarberOsgerby to design the choir stalls and Patrick Caulfield the organ doors. Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby responded to this challenge with The Portsmouth Bench, an oak bench that paired original contemporary design with conventional wood seating and received the Design Week Award for Best Furniture Design. Working with Stefan van Raay, the then director of Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, Patrick Caulfield was commissioned to design the interior organ doors. His design reflected upon both tradition and modernity by referencing symbols from Christianity, the existing features in the cathedral and the City of Portsmouth.
Together, these commissions helped to evolve understanding of sacred spaces by encouraging contemporary audiences to discover new and exciting ways of interacting with sacred places of faith.
Participating Artists and Designers
Abbey Harris Mural Fund
Arts Council England
The Henry Moore Foundation
The Jerusalem Trust
The London Institute