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Stations of Water

Installation, September - October 2017

From 25 September - 28 October 2017 St Paul's Cathedral hosts a collection of nine contemporary artworks, collectively entitled Stations of Water.

The installations form part of St Paul's Institute's International Cathedral project, JustWater, which aims to increase awareness of water justice around the world.

Stations of Water is modelled on the liturgy of the Stations of the Cross, with each piece inspired by water and related to themes such as religious rituals, access to clean drinking water, pollution, conservation, the privatisation of water, drought and global warming. Each Station is either a painting, sculpture, video, sound or light installation.

The artists, from the UK, Mexico, USA, Spain, Russia and New Zealand, will be working alongside the Cathedral's Schools and Family Learning Department to run art and education projects for visiting schools and families.

Visitors to the Cathedral will be able to see Stations of Water during regular daytime visitor hours. Some of the works will be visible to those attending services.

See large images of all nine artworks
Safe Harbour - Jonathan Slaughter
Conceived in response to the perilous water crossings refugees must make in the hope of finding sanctuary and refuge, Safe Harbour explores themes surrounding protection and security. The work also acknowledges the similarity between the two columns at either side of the West Door, and the mosaic at the base of Lord Nelson’s sarcophagus. The mosaic instructs that ‘England expects everyman to do his duty’. In turning these two columns into the mooring posts shown in the mosaic, the work ultimately asks: If we can find our own safe place, are we then able to do our duty and offer others safe harbour?
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Inter-Sect - Marilyn Collins
Inter-Sect incorporates a steel figure and a film of London’s underground rivers with soundtrack created by Annalouise Oakland. Standing on Ludgate Hill, between the river valleys of the Fleet and the Walbrook as they approach the Thames, this ancient site has a long history as a place of worship, having house a Roman temple of Diana, and very likely earlier pagan temples. The triple silhouette references the Trinity at the core of Christian belief. The figure stands on a vesica piscis, a shape which arises when we see raindrops falling on water, as the circles of expanding ripples cross each other.
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The Slippery Longfin Eel of New Zealand - Regan O’Callaghan
Nearly 90% of New Zealand’s wetlands have been drained and there is an increasing problem with pollution of rivers. A recent New Zealand Government paper reports that nearly three quarters of native freshwater fish are threatened with extinction. This Water Station draws attention to the plight of the New Zealand Longfin Eel. Considered an environmental indicator of the health of rivers, this ancient species is also threatened with extinction. The use of clerical collars made out of plastic alludes to the serious issue of pollution in our rivers and oceans.
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I Thirst - Marcela Montonya-Turnill
I Thirst consists of a crucifix wrapped in a shroud and surrounded by twenty marble inscriptions with key words describing water solutions and human water rights. It is intended to encourage public debate and involvement in connection with the Cathedral’s JustWater campaign to promote water justice. The piece has been installed on the floor of the North Transept as if it were a memorial inscription to water serving as historical record of the 21st century water crisis.
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The Three States - James Pimperton
The Three States makes a performance of the act of translation and circulation between the three physical states of water; liquid, solid and gas. The works modulate between highly detailed representation and geometric abstraction, between sharp delineation and gaseous diffusion, between transparent and opaque, between two and three dimensions. The overtly referenced forms of production, deconstruction and reconstruction, allude to the cyclical patterns evident in the water cycle, in the wider environment and in the nature of creation itself.
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Overlooked - Alex Roberts
The painting triptych, Overlooked, made up of Reflective Hope, Wish/Cleanse, and Reveal, gains its inspiration from the physical properties of water - transparency and reflection. The two paintings, Reflective Hope and Wish/Cleanse displayed on the panelled stone walls are images of visitors to the Cathedral. Despite St Paul’s holding a physicality of vastness, a symbol of immensity, it also serves as intimate personal space for the individual. Thus, the final, more hidden work, Reveal, hangs in opposition to the previous subjects. Reveal, drifting above the laid tombs, honoured heroes of news, serves a painted, narrative association to current global social/political concerns. Is this an innocent that our contemporary, global waters have washed up from fleeing political struggle? Do we offer our backs to such a need?
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Spiral of Life - Michelangelo Arteaga
Spiral of Life is a larger-than-life seashell resembling the Nautilus, a creature whose core is shaped by the Fibonacci spiral curve found everywhere in nature. From the exterior, Spiral of life appears to be solid, impassable…but by gazing deeply into the interior, one can imagine diving beneath the surface, surrounded by sea, and looking to the sunlight. Resonating from somewhere deep within the work, the artist’s own heartbeat can be heard and felt, and asks: What is the essence of a human being, if we are 70% water?
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Monument - Paul Abbott
Monument is influenced by the drapery featured in the monuments around St Paul’s which is echoed in the treatment of everyday furniture in the Cathedral. The artist was struck by how the reality of the fabric is echoed in a depiction of reality. The video is narrated by someone who immigrated to Britain and talks about ‘remaking’ himself an adapting to his new life in Britain. The piece makes reference to Britain’s nautical heritage, and serves as a reminder of how we should stay open to those seeking a new life on our shores.
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Prayer for Rain - Kelise Franclemont
A single drop of water which seemingly emanates from the copper basin on the floor, travels up the pipes, to be released skywards one precious drop at a time. It is through faith that this drop becomes the carrier of hope, as it gently floats upwards in glittering repose, taking with it prayers within all of us, whether we are creatures of land or sea. Along with the simple act of faith in raising one’s gaze to the sky, actual ‘water prayers’ from all over the world can be heard, to revere this priceless life resource, seek rescue when we are overwhelmed, or beg relief from the peril when the rains won’t fall.
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