The Waterlog Project Opens At The Collection In Lincoln

By 24 Hour Museum Staff Published: 13 September 2007

film still showing the base of an elderly tree trunk among tall sedge

Alexander and Susan Maris, Silentium (film still). Courtesy The Collection © the artists

The second part of the Waterlog art project that launched in Norwich earlier this year is now opening at The Collection in Lincoln.

Running from September 15 to December 16 2007, the group show features new commissions by seven leading artists, all on the theme of the water drenched landscapes of the east of England.

In particular, the film, photography, sound and text works are inspired by the writings of WG Sebald in The Rings of Saturn. In the novel, the German-born writer describes a (fictional) walking tour in the East of England, where he lived for more than 20 years.

The works in Waterlog make no concrete reference to The Rings of Saturn, but use Sebald’s evocation of memories, public and personal, and the sense of journeying.

landscape photo with a filed of daffodils on the right and a flat fild of grass on the left with two tracks extending to a vanishing piont among trees at the horizon

Guy Moreton, Dunston Pillar from the East. Courtesy The Collection © the artist

For its incarnation at The Collection, Waterlog includes photographs of the Lincolnshire fens by Guy Moreton and a new sound installation by Marcus Coates called Cadences, created especially for the gallery’s sound wall.

Coates’ work consists of a series of last chords from English pastoral orchestral pieces, reflecting on bird-life and the loss of landscapes.

Moreton’s photographic works concentrate on the Dunston Pillar, Britain’s only land lighthouse. Built in 1751 to guide travellers across the heath towards Lincoln, the pillar stands sentinel over the exhibition itself.

Alec Finlay has produced companion works to Moreton’s, including poems presented on lifebuoys and a small apple sculpture. The apple is dedicated to Michael Hamburger – a real-life poet and translator who features in Sebald’s novel.

a photograph of an elderly man outdoors wearing a brown jacket

Tacita Dean, Michael Hamburger, 2007. Courtesy the artist; Frith Street Gallery, London; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris

Tacita Dean has created a film portrait of Hamburger, who was a great friend of Sebald’s. The film depicts Hamburger at his Suffolk home, in his study and among apple trees in his garden. The work takes on a very poignant feel with the death of the subject in June 2007.

Simon Pope has created perhaps one of the strangest artworks in the exhibition. In The Memorial Walks, various writers were asked to choose a landscape painting from the museum collection and memorise it. Next, they walked with the artist to a location of his choosing before describing the picture from memory.

The descriptions were recorded, and are displayed with the relevant paintings in the museum. However, the paintings are covered with black drapes, with one being revealed every two weeks.

a photo of a stone tower with an entrance way at the base

Guy Moreton, Dunston Pillar. © the artist

Finally Alexander and Susan Maris chart a journey upriver from Aldeburgh to Snape and Horham in their video and sound work Silentium. The locations are related to English composer Benjamin Britten, and the haunting video sequences recreate his pursuit of quiet escape.

A conference at Tate Britain on Saturday September 29 2007 called the Printed Path: Landscape, Walking and Recollection will explore some of the themes of Waterlog and W G Sebald's approach to landscape and writing.

The event includes key contributions from Marina Warner and Iain Sinclair, amongst others, as well as films, readings and other interventions from artists Tacita Dean, Alec Finlay and Simon Pope.

Tate Britain Auditorium, 10.00–17.00. £25 (£18 concessions), booking required. See the Tate website for more details.

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