A Look Back at Picture House at Belsay: Forest Bedrooms, Teacups & Silver Dipped Ballgowns
Dreams of a winter night
In some recent posts we saw Stella McCartney's stunning Lucky Spot installation at Belsay Castle, a horse made of 8,000 crystals assembled on wires in a hauntingly beautiful medieval room. The horse was a revival of sorts from a project that began a few years ago when English Heritage invited 15 of the most original and experimental film directors, artists, actresses and designers from Britain and around the world to bring Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens (oh, those gardens! More to come on those) to life with a series of cutting edge art installations.
Picture House opened in spring of 2007 and transformed the neo-classical mansion in Northumberland, its 14th century castle and Grade I Listed gardens with electrifying works of fashion, sculpture, music, design, poetry, music and video.
The next art exhibition to take place on the glorious grounds at Belsay is Extraordinary Measures and I'm thrilled to say I've been invited to their press day to tour the works, hear from the curator and take pictures. It's about a place "where size is off the scale. Where the miniscule is made massive and huge surroundings hide surprises. Where ancient buildings always hold something new" - it sounds like Alice in Wonderland meets the coolest treasure hunt there ever was.
Here's a preview:
And back to Picture House at Belsay, beginning with Viktor & Rolf's centrepiece of silver ballgowns, from their latest collection at the time, drenched in dripping silver in Pillar Hall. Their piece referenced the Dutch tradition of dipping a child's shoe in silver to preserve it as a keepsake. "We were inspired by that same desire to preserve a memory," said Viktor Horsting. "To treasure the past. To freeze time."
Geraldine Pilgrim (corridor productions)
Dreams of a winter night
Coffin of a servant's journey
A collaboration between Boudicca and Mike Figgis
Tilda Swinton created this piece called Belsayland for Arthur Middleton's bedroom, working alongside her husband, playwright and visual artist John Byrne, and their children. It was realised by Neil Murray in association with Northern Stage.
Corollarium. Northumbria University graduate, Francesca Steele, was awarded the Belsay FellowshipGeraldine Pilgrim (corridor productions) which provided her with the opportunity to exhibit alongside the more well known names.
Imogen Cloët and Jacob Polley
The Recollection Rooms
Peepshow. Costume designer Sandy Powell created a 'peephole' into Lady Middleton's bedroom, where viewers could spy on the inhabitant.
Photos: The Telegraph