The National Trust will re-open Lindisfarne Castle this spring following an 18 month period of conservation, with a major new site-specific installation by internationally acclaimed artist Anya Gallaccio.
Lindisfarne Castle is a former 16th century Tudor fort, later redesigned by architect Edwin Lutyens in the early 20th century into a holiday home for the founder of Country Life magazine, Edward Hudson. For the past eighteen months the castle has been undergoing a £3 million programme of repairs and conservation, with support from the DCMS, the Wolfson Foundation, the Path Trust and donations from supporters, to manage the effects of battering sea, wind and rain that come from its sitting on top of a high crag on Northumberland’s Holy Island.
The castle will re-open without the collection inside to allow the interior time to dry out and leaving the bare architecture of the castle on show. It will provide the National Trust with a rare moment in time to invite an artist to take over the castle and offer visitors a new, immersive and compelling experience in one of its most recognisable of places.
Anya says, “Lindisfarne is a very special place. It’s a place I have always been really intrigued by. It’s an amazing opportunity. How often do you get free rein of a castle? The opportunity to inhabit it briefly is not one to turn down.”
Anya plans to create a rural landscape of colour using a combination of dyed blankets, flowers and plants. The colours and fauna will take their inspiration from Gertrude Jekyll’s walled garden in the castle’s grounds and the use of plants such as moss, alpine and Bonsai trees will propose life returning to the castle. Anya will swaddle the house in blankets, suggesting both a house shut up and protected for winter and the transition the house has just been through during the conservation project.
A British, former Turner-prize nominated artist, Anya is known for her work with natural forms and organic matter to create temporary exhibitions of works. As well as preparing for the installation at Lindisfarne Castle, Anya is also preparing work for the 21st Biennale of Sydney.
Lindisfarne Castle’s General Manager Simon Lee says, “Anya is an incredibly exciting artist and to see her work presented in the context of Lindisfarne Castle will be very special. We had a once-in-a-generation opportunity while the castle is empty to do something different here. We hope Anya’s work will not only inspire people from the local community and from much further afield to experience this special place in a new way, it will also showcase the Northumberland coast as an inspiration for people across the world.”
The castle will re-open to the public on Sunday 1st April and the installation will open on Saturday 5th May and run until November 2018. Between 1st April and the exhibition’s opening visitors to the castle will have a unique chance to look more closely at the structure of this remarkable building and see and hear about some of the discoveries that were made during the restoration project.
The installation is a collaboration between the National Trust and Locus+, a Newcastle based visual arts commissioning agency that works with artists on the production and presentation of socially engaged, collaborative and temporary projects, primarily for non-gallery locations. It is delivered by the National Trust through Trust New Art and supported using public funding by Arts Council England and a donation from the Henry Moore Foundation. For further information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lindisfarne-castle
Anya Gallaccio at Lindisfarne Castle (credit Jonny Walton)