Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Song for Coal

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park has opened a new exhibit called Song for Coal exploring the timeless importance of coal.

Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson, Song for Coal

Source: Courtesy the artists and YSP

Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson, Song for Coal

The display takes place in the restored 18th century St Bartholemew’s Chapel in park and is described as an “immersive audio-visual work”.

Exploring the “physical and cultural properties of coal” the installation comprises of a projection of a rose window, each panel displaying different aspect of coal’s history with plainsong played in the background.

Designers Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson said they looked to convey a religious aesthetic with the installation.

Rawlinson says the development of Song for Coal was a very “long-cooked process”. The subject matter came to the pair through the book the Coal Catechism by William Jasper Nicolls, a secular 19th century text that provided an educational insight into coal power.

Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson, Song for Coal

Source: Courtesy the artists and YSP

Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson, Song for Coal

The book’s semi-religious undertones impacted the pair. By combining the window video installation with plainsong, Crowe and Rawlinson hope to achieve a “medieval gothic” feel that leads you into a state of contemplation over how coal has influenced society.

“We are uncovering the deep relationship to the material and how it changes ourselves,” Crowe says. “Coal has been a crucial material throughout history and combining that with religious imagery speaks timelessly, which is want we want to evoke.”

Song for Coal runs until19 April 2015 at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, WF4 4LG. Entrance is free.

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