Meadow Arts, Croft Castle

A commission from Meadow Arts to produce a series of photographic works for the group exhibition All Alone, which was installed in the grounds of Croft Castle, Herefordshire and included works by artists Adam Chodzko, David Bethell, Edie Jo Murray and ….kruse. Meadow Arts are a contemporary art charity delivering ambitious and accessible projects in unexpected rural places.

Waldeinsamkeit by Simon Roberts

Each inhabiting their own space in the deep woods above Fishpool valley, a series of shrouded statues are revealed, almost as apparitions. Elegant and melancholic, the statues seem absorbed in timeless contemplation, trapped in their own mineral universe. Evoking the tradition of using sculptures in landscape design, the marble figures represent mythological and allegorical subjects. The images, printed on weather resistant fabric, are photographs taken in 2020 during the second Covid-19 lockdown whilst the Victoria and Albert Museum was closed to the public. Although the statues were covered for their protection during refurbishment, Roberts uses them as a metaphor for our wider experience of the pandemic. Wrapped in a plastic membrane, their features and expressions are partially obscured, and they seem to push against their coverings. The tension caused by the juxtaposition between the Neo-classical forms and 21st Century plastic and gaffa tape renders them somehow more vulnerable. Tethered between trees, the static figures become almost life-like as they respond to gentle gusts of wind and the change of light during the day. Waldeinsamkeit is an untranslatable German term that evokes the enlightening, sublime feeling that can come from being alone in the woods. Roberts’ images encourage visitors to experience just that.

You can view a virtual video tour made by flimmaker Ollie Landell that captures all the outdoor artworks here. There is a second version with an audio description by VocalEyes, an organisation that brings arts and heritage to life for blind and visually impaired people, available here.

Installation photographs courtesy of Stefan Handy / Meadow Arts. You can watch a video of the installed works here.