Empyrean at Ushaw College

I once again found myself in the north a few weeks back, in the majestic Durham. I spent six months living at working at the old seminary of Ushaw College for my Leverhulme funded residency Sculpting with Light. It was the birth place, both conceptually and practically of Empyrean. After a fairly significant time at Palace Green Library, and a brief rest period in the art vaults of Durham University, it is now time for the piece to be on show at the very place where it all began.

I rarely talk much about the installation of work besides the occasional snippet on social media, but the amazing team effort that went into installing Empyrean cannot go unmentioned. With such a sensitive site it was crucial that there was as little interference with the building as possible. A great team of art handlers went to work constructing and installing a beam into the chapel. I sat mesmerised at the precision and grace of the undertaking. Take a look below at just what goes into the preparation of an exhibition. 

Not only is it wonderful to see this piece back on show, but it's fitting that it has returned to a place that has become very special to me. It has taken on a whole new character in its new setting and I'm sure that is likely to change as the seasons do and the light in the chapel makes it glow in different ways.

If you haven't been to Durham then I urge you to go check it out. Ushaw College has a rich and interesting history and its fifteen chapels (yes FIFTEEN!) are worth the trip alone. You can see a little glimpse of them as the dramatic lead up to Empyrean in the video below.

With thanks to Lucy Jenkins, Alix Collingwood-Swinburn, Giles Gasper, Ushaw College and Durham University.

Empyrean was made possible by a generous grant from The Leverhulme Trust.