Julian Stair takes Quietus sculptures to grand medieval setting of Winchester Cathedral

By Sarah Jackson | 07 August 2013

Exhibition Preview: Quietus at Winchester Cathedral, until 30 September 2013

Quietus installation at Winchester Cathedral, 2013.
© Image courtesy of Julian Stair. Photograph by Jan Baldwin
You could hardly ask for a better venue for an exhibition exploring artefacts and traditions of death than a grand medieval cathedral such as Winchester.

Soaring medieval architecture and sculptures sit alongside with modern artworks from Eric Gill and Anthony Gormley and now, for the next two months, Julian Stair’s Quietus.

This major solo exhibition from the celebrated British potter tackles the containment of the human body after death.

A series of artist-made funerary works from cinerary jars to life-size sarcophagi offer an alternative means to deal with this challenging and delicate subject by using the symbolic language of ceramic vessels.

Clay is a material closely associated with ritual, memory and death. As well the metaphorical transformation of ashes to ashes and dust to dust, clay has been used as a material for creating funerary jars and other accompaniments from ancient civilisations across the world right up to the present day.

Stair’s work, known for its gentle palette of grays, reds and whites and variety of scales, creates a gentle atmosphere for which to contemplate how we deal with our dead.

The works will be placed throughout the Cathedral including the North Transept, Presbytery Aisles, Retroquire, Guardian Angel’s Chapel, and the Presbytery Screens surrounding the High Alter. In these spaces, visitors can also visit the final resting places of the Saxon King Cnut and Jane Austen.

Quietus opened to great acclaim at Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art in 2012, continuing on to the National Museum of Cardiff. In December 2013 it will visit Somerset House in London.

  • Open 9.30am-5pm (12.30pm-3.pm Sunday). Admission £4-£7.50 (free for under-16s). Follow the cathedral on Twitter @WinCathedral.


More pictures:

Quietus installation at Winchester Cathedral, 2013.
© Image courtesy of Julian Stair. Photograph by Jan Baldwin.
Quietus installation at Winchester Cathedral, 2013.
© Image courtesy of Julian Stair. Photograph by Jan Baldwin.
Quietus installation at Winchester Cathedral, 2013.
© Image courtesy of Julian Stair. Photograph by Jan Baldwin.
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