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The Collection, Lincoln
15 Sep 07 16 Dec 07

Sainsbury Centre
for Visual Arts

30 Jan 24 Jun 07

Norwich Castle
Museum & Art Gallery

3 Feb 15 Apr 07

Film and Video Umbrella

Arts Council
Alec Finlay and Guy Moreton

1   2   3

Alec Finlay and Guy Moreton’s contributions to ‘Waterlog’ begin with a collaborative project called ‘The Sunken Bell’, which follows the shifting outlines and fluctuating fortunes of the coastline around Dunwich, once one of England’s largest ports, and now almost entirely lost to the sea. Inspired by the local legend that on certain tides, bells from Dunwich’s many former churches can be heard ringing below the waves, Finlay made a series of thirteen watercolours, transcribing a ‘bell method’, a score used in church bell ringing. While such methods usually consist of rows of numbers, one for each bell to be rung, Finlay replaces each number with a coloured circle, creating simple pictures with a curiously synaesthetic effect, music having being transformed into colour. The piece reverberates equally affectingly in its transfer to Lincolnshire, along whose coastline, silting as fast as Suffolk’s is eroding, the tide deposits material from other places and other times.

Accompanying these paintings are two large-format photographs by Moreton of the ruins of the nearby church of St. Andrew’s, Walberswick — vivid reminders of how the certainties of faith and stone are no safeguard against the ravages of time. Leaving these images of this crumbling church tower, the eye alights on the equally foreshortened edifice of Dunston Pillar, a former ‘land lighthouse’ built to guide travellers through the dangerous Lincolnshire marshes, now strangely stranded among miles and miles of agricultural land. Shown alongside other photographs by Moreton of the Blyth estuary near Dunwich and of Norfolk’s Yare and Waveney marshes, the Pillar also stands sentinel over Finlay’s companion contributions: circle poems painted on lifebuoys and for inscription on handbells; words that ripple the surface of this otherwise drowned world.

1. Guy Moreton
The River Yare

2. Guy Moreton
Dunston Pillar (detail)

3. Alec Finlay
Life Buoy (Circle Poem)

Download Finlay's 'Floating Island Garden' (PDF 343K)