Fountains Relief

Mat Collishaw is currently exhibiting two new site-specific works at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, Yorkshire.

The pictorial beauty of the canals, ponds and cascades at World Heritage Site, Studley Royal Water Garden, belies their practical function as an important hydraulic balancing system and release for the river Skell. This elegant yet hidden design for the 18th century pleasure garden underpins the two works created by Mat Collishaw for Fountains Relief. As reflections on the Banqueting House and the Temple of Piety, both works illustrate a form of release and explosion of tension. Themes which draw upon the follies’ history as places of pleasure and piety.

In the Temple of Piety, the Pineal Eye is an optical illusion achieved through the simple geometry of parabolic mirrors. Their circular forms echo the ponds outside which, like an actual pineal eye, register and reflect the light from the heavens above. An ethereal mirage of the Roman depiction of Piety, mirrors the relief on the Temple wall which portrays the Grecian daughter who feeds her imprisoned father from her breast.

The Banqueting House features a Rabelaisian orgy of consumption, indulgence and escape from worldly pressures. Seria Ludo is a glowing, strobe lit chandelier zoetrope, covered with 186 carousing Lilliputian figures. The title of this work is a term taken from the Dilettanti Society, an elite 18th century drinking club whose members shared an interest in Roman and Greek Art. Unlike the Pineal Eye’s simple geometry Seria Ludo utilises design opulently; electrical and mechanical engineering are harnessed to conjure a scene of excitement and debauchery – a whirling dervish of dissolute behaviour.

For more information, got to the Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden website.