image © steve messam 2009
Fleur de Sel
5th June - 30th August 2009
You are cordially invited to take tea with the artists Hannah Stewart and Steve Messam to preview ‘Fleur de Sel’ - an installation around the Lagoon, Venice and Ullswater, the Lake District, UK.
5th June 2009 from 4.00 - 5.30pm
Spazio Thetis, Arsenale Novissimo, Venice. ACTV - Bacini (41,42, 51, 52)
English afternoon tea will be served.
Fleur de Sel:
Fleur de Sel is an installation of large pure white forms appearing to float on the water of the lagoon in Venice and on Ullswater in the Lake District, created by rural artists Steve Messam and Hannah Stewart. The title, Fleur de Sel, reflects the delicate light salt crystals, which can be skimmed off the surface of seawater and references Venice’s earliest industry. Each form is made from silk and lace parasols and are in various stages of apparent decay. The line of forms creates a visual and theoretical line through the heart of Venice to Brantwood on the shore of Coniston Water in the English Lake District.
The forms are inspired by a very English view of Venice - that of the Grand Tour where the parasol becomes an icon of the need to protect the delicate English complexion from the sun and an important marker of cultural identity. Venice and Cumbria share a number of points of community - their role in the birth of ‘tourism’ and their association with water and its industries.
Victorian art and architecture critic John Ruskin lived at Brantwood on the shores of Coniston for many years. During that time he made numerous trips to Venice - the subject of his seminal work ‘The Stones of Venice’. In it Ruskin is inspired not only by the architecture of Venice, but also in the way that it decays. It is this beauty in decay which Fleur de Sel celebrates - from an almost solid ball of pure white parasols through a series of states of decay where the forms take on more flower-like appearances.
The piece can also be seen as a metaphor for the preservation of its environments - salt being one of the earliest forms of preservation. Both Venice and the Lake District are delicate balances between tourism and preservation with similar tensions between them.
The installation will be shown over a 1km stretch of Ullswater in September 2009.
For more details see: www.golakes.co.uk/fleurdesel
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