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  • The grass seemed darker than ever

Curran, Fiona, 2016, Art or design object, The grass seemed darker than ever

Abstract or Description:

'The grass seemed darker than ever' is a public sculpture commissioned by Kielder Art & Architecture for Kielder Forest, Northumberland.
The commission called for a response to Kielder Castle. Kielder Castle was originally built as a hunting lodge for the Duke of Northumberland in the late 18th century, coinciding with a period in English history marked by dramatic changes to the landscape as swathes of land moved from common use to private ownership through the introduction of the Inclosures Acts. Between the early 17th and late 19th century around 7 million acres across England were radically transformed as a consequence of the enclosure of open countryside and the development of new agricultural techniques, representing around 1/6th of the land. The Acts and accompanying laws developed to police the borders between inside and outside marked a highly charged moment in English history. Attendant with the codification of this move in law came the physical and material transformation of the landscape through the use of fences and hedges acting as boundary markers that delineated fields for new forms of intensive agriculture. These physical/material enclosures also demarcated forests and hunting areas for the sport of the aristocracy and became tangible obstacles against the free movement of people and animals through the landscape. The notion of landscape fundamentally shifted and became more deeply entangled with ideas of territory and personal property rights.

Inside the fence the forest floor is painted black in reference to the ‘Black Act.’ This act was introduced in 1723 to curtail poaching in response to a swathe of civil unrest across England in reaction to the Inclosures Acts and the loss of access to land previously held in common. Under this law an offender could be sentenced to death if found in a forest with a blackened face. The bright blue of the fence alludes to the “circling sky” above the forest canopy. It also references 19th century poet of the English countryside John Clare, whose poem ‘The Mores’ laments the impact of the enclosure system on the English landscape.

Official URL: http://kielderartandarchitecture.com/art-architect...
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art > W130 Sculpture
School or Centre: School of Material
Funders: Arts Council England, Kielder Water Development Trust
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2016 10:40
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2016 10:40
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/2093

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