Fermynwoods Contemporary Art presents The Howse Shal Be Preserved, an exhibition at Rockingham Castle responding to the history of one of the few homes in England that have been continuously occupied for nearly 1,000 years.
11 July – 28 September 2021 (subject to ongoing government guidance)
Rockingham Castle open times and admission prices apply (from £7.50)
Admission to both the House and Garden is by pre-booked tickets only via rockinghamcastle.com
Historic Houses and RHS members can select a free ticket.
Once the site of an Iron Age fort, later colonised by the Romans to establish a mining community, continuously fed by the landscape, Rockingham Castle was built on the instruction of William the Conqueror, recognising the strategic importance of the site with an abundance of geological features from iron-bearing sandstone beds to dense game filled forests. Home to the Watson family for the last 450 years, having previously been held by the crown, there are very few other homes in England that have been continuously occupied for nearly 1,000 years. As the artists drew on this history for their work, the exhibition draws its title from an inscription on a beam in The Great Hall.
Read the interpretation sheet here.
ONLINE ACCOMPANIMENTS TO THE EXHIBITION
Artist David Blyth’s new body of work Forest Law presents the viewer with a fictionalised collection of poaching and trapping tools that celebrate the ingenuity and creative vigour of the common folk of Rockingham Forest. Suitably confiscated from the castle, the challenging work is available to view in augmented reality at the link.
Many hands make lightwork by Sarah Gillett is an immersive digital artwork set within the nighttime grounds and historic figures of Rockingham Castle. Many hands make lightwork is a multiplayer Minecraft world for Windows and macOS that is hosted on the Fermynwoods Contemporary Art server from 1 May 2021 – 28 January 2022. You can access this work at the link.
Sarah Gillett’s Not only; but also is a web-based artwork that takes us inside the body of a woman lying in the gardens of Rockingham Castle at night. The shape and folds of this fluid architectural cavity are defined by the contours of the dress she is wearing, as though this is a skin for a ghostly presence uncertain of its bodily limits. You can enjoy this online artwork on your desktop computer or smartphone, as long as you are connected to the internet, at the link.
Listen to the accompanying The Howse Shal Be Preserved podcasts:
- Sarah Gillett discusses the inspiration provided by the grounds, archives and staff at Rockingham Castle, research on how astronauts dream, and the joy of collaboration.
- A journey through artist David Blyth’s mind and process, featuring discussion with our Director James Steventon.
David Blyth is an artist who likes animals, art and people and tries to make work that helps them get along better. His work is informed by the craft skills of taxidermy and draws upon narratives of folklore, shamanism and cultural memory.
Justin Carter’s work couples a hopeless desire to return to Nature with a historical and cultural awareness that acknowledges this as impossible. Justin’s practice is an attempt to cause reflection and highlight tensions that exist within the individual and society at large: During the week we attempt to optimise industrial productivity/at the weekend we take off in our 4X4s in search of the vanishing wilderness.
Sarah Gillett is obsessed with the stuff that makes us and the stuff we make. Her practice explores histories of belief, ritual and storytelling in order to question our place in the universe today. Starting from her collection of fossils, gothic oddities, Victorian ornaments and old dictionaries, she brings art, science, landscape and language together to build fables across space and time. Sarah is developing a new body of work that digs into night landscapes and the different ways that we traverse darkness physically and emotionally, from archaeology and astronomy to mythology, spiritualism and depression.
Onya McCausland is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. Onya’s work repositions ‘waste’ as significant cultural material that can be used to change perceptions of the ‘post-industrial’ landscape sites it belongs to, such as generating new uses for mine water waste ‘ochres’ as usable coloured pigment for paint.
Images: The flimsy copy, installation view, Sarah Gillett, 2021 – The Howse Shal Be Preserved at Rockingham Castle. Photo Andy Eathorne; More upright than mist, installation view, Sarah Gillett, 2021 – The Howse Shal Be Preserved at Rockingham Castle. Photo Andy Eathorne; Objects of desire, installation view, Sarah Gillett, 2021 – The Howse Shal Be Preserved at Rockingham Castle. Photo Andy Eathorne; Objects of desire, installation view, Sarah Gillett, 2021 – The Howse Shal Be Preserved at Rockingham Castle; The Elephant in the Room, installation views, Justin Carter – The Howse Shal Be Preserved at Rockingham Castle. Photo Andy Eathorne; Landed, Onya McCausland, 2021 – The Howse Shal Be Preserved at Rockingham Castle. Photo Andy Eathorne; Landed (detail), Onya McCausland, 2021 – The Howse Shal Be Preserved at Rockingham Castle. Photo Andy Eathorne; Landed (details), Onya McCausland, 2021 – The Howse Shal Be Preserved at Rockingham Castle. Photos Kate Dyer