Crucible – an amazing experience!

As those of you who follow this blog will know, OH & I like to go on a picnic on a Wednesday. Our most recent trip was to Gloucester Cathedral to see an exhibition called ‘Crucible’. It was astounding made more so by the fact that these exhibits were in & around the Cathedral. For some visitors, to have such ‘art’ in such a sacred place was very upsetting. I leave you to make your own minds up.

This piece is called ‘The Fast Supper’ by Abigail Fallis. It is a series of paper mache hands holding fast food.

  Here is ‘Till Death do us Part’ by Steven Gregory. This piece was placed just below the altar. If you look closely you will see that the frames of the chairs are made of bones with them sharing a leg & arms. The cushions had pictures of the relevant insides (heart, lungs etc)
      ‘Nike’ by Marcus Harvey


‘Waiting for Godot’ by Marc Quinn

  Turning left off the corridor that runs along the cloisters you go down some steep steps into a small room & see this extraordinary piece by Antony Gormley. It is called ‘Close V’. The figure has rivets in his body & it is made of steel. I have posted about this amazing artist before (here) There was a sharp in-take of breath from both myself & OH.

For me the most breath-taking sculpture was as you entered the Cathedral. It is the piece that is certainly controversial both for its subject & it’s position in this beautiful place of worship. It is called ‘Calvary’ by David Mach

 The figure is covered with short pieces of twisted wire. The artist is known for his large installations using mass-produced objects such as match sticks, coat hangers & car tyres.

There were other pieces that made you gasp, some not suitable for this post (Damien Hirst’s ‘St Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain’) suited in the Choir just below the Altar.  Others, as is often the case with modern art, that made you wonder what it was all about.

However, it was a fantastic experience & I do urge you to go & see it if you can.


This post is for Alphbe-Thursday Letter ‘C’. Pop over to Jenny Matlock’s great blog to see some more entries!

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  • Good heavens, I can’t help wondering what’s inside these artists minds! They do have to be seen in the ‘flesh’ for want of a better word, and they are all fascinating, striking works. Strangely it’s the Godot thing that I find appalling rather than the Gormley. Thanks for sending me back here.

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  • Wow! I wish I could have seen that exhibit. What a powerful and interesting display that has so much meaning, really forcing the viewer to reflect on religion and society. Thanks for sharing this.

  • ok, at the risk of sounding like an idiot but which Gloucester?

    there are 2 here in NJ alone.

    I am on the fence with some of this, but not all.


  • Fran Barton

    I went to the exhibition yesterday and was blown away. Especially with the sounds of the choir and organ in the background as they prepared for evensong!

    There are almost 100 exhibits all round the cathedral, inside and outside, and plenty for children to do there, many exhibits can be climbed on and almost all can be touched.

    Apparently Crucible 2010 is a much larger version of an annual tradition for modern art exhibitions in the cathedral, established a few years ago by the Dean, Nicholas Bury. This is a massive one as it’s is his last year at the Cathedral so it’s like his farewell present!

    How often do you get works by Marc Quinn, Anthony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Lynn Chadwick, Danny Chadwick, Eduardo Paolozzi and many others all in one place? Especially outside London.

    Don’t miss your chance to see this. It’s open till Saturday 30th October.

  • jennymatlock

    Julia. Wow. Such progressive art for such a conservative appearing venue.

    Although I rarely look too closely at macabre art (because I have too active of an imagination and there could be ghouls under my bed!) I was intriqued with Crucible, Nike and Close V (although I think that one should have been called ‘X marks the Spot’)

    What a wonderful for Alphabe-Thursday. Thought provoking and interesting.

    The very best kind of posts!


  • Pondside

    Good morning, from Alphabe-Thursday. I’m glad I got to your post. This is the sort of exhibit that I’d never choose to see, but having come across it on your blog it has made me think. …….and that’s the great thing about blogging.

  • h

    Calvary is a very powerful piece! I think it clearly expresses the pain which Christ must have felt on the cross. As far as art in a cathedral goes, I suppose my question would be whether the artwork itself is an act of worship or whether it is just an exhibition. Thought provoking post. Thanks 🙂

    • For me, the pieces were even more powerful because of where they were placed. I’m glad it got you thinking. Thank you for commenting – really appreciate!

  • jo

    wow …as in stunning and jaw dropping and progressive and fascinating and provoking and WOW … I wish i could see it irl … it looks infinitley interesting …

  • Alison

    I liked the piece for ‘Nike’ – a sobering look at the goddess of victory.
    The chairs I really like although I’m not sure where I would put them in my house.
    There is definitely a visceral reaction to some of these – makes you think.
    Thanks for sharing this ‘C’ entry.

  • Jen

    Hi from alphabe-Thursday! What an interesting place. These pieces are so creative. My mind just doesn’t work in that creative way!
    I enjoyed your take on the letter “C”. Enjoy your day!

  • Wow, I love it!

    Thought-provoking, intelligent,,

    wish I lived close enough to visit…

  • Wow. That looks like a gritty show, and it must seem even more so in that venue. Which is probably why they chose it, right?

    I’d be interested in seeing it, for sure.


  • I prefer to be called ignorant, but to me it’s not art at all, it’s just provocation and a cathedral is certainly not a place for such “modern art”. I paint myself was in Art school and love to go to exhibitions, but modern art and modern art can be very different !

    • There were many folk who felt just ike you – it was an exhibition that really divided folk. Thank you so much for commenting and giving that other view.

  • JDaniel4's Mom

    What a variety of art objects! I don’t remember seeing displays like this when I visited Europe.

  • That was an amazing post . I really was moved by the last one thanks for sharing

  • PJ

    Wow, now that’s different and sooooo creative! I’m glad to have seen the photos. What imaginative artisans!

    I’m having a giveaway on my Wed. post you might enjoy.

  • How wonderful! and well done you for documenting it so fabulously. I haven’t been to an exhibition like this in a very long time.
    Think it’s great the Cathedral is hosting this, as I always wonder how it is possible to condemn such works of art whether one ‘likes’ them, or not. Religion encourages soul-searching, freedom of expression and honesty .. if this is the way someone puts a ‘voice’ to how he / she feels about aspects of everyday life, why is it wrong to display it in the one place which advocates that freedom?
    Just a thought. Great post!

  • As an atheist i don’t find the art distasteful per se, i actually really like some of it, but, strangely I’m too totally uncomfortable with where it is being housed. I find it disrespectful and it makes me cringe, which is a little odd i suppose. I suppose it’s the same reason why i can’t swear in church, did not get married in church. I’m not sure if it’s a respect thing, or just fear that maybe i’m wrong and the lord will be out to get me for blasphemy!

    INteresting post. Pleased to be back on the mailing list!


  • As an atheist i don’t find the art distasteful per se, i actually really like some of it, but, strangely I’m too totally uncomfortable with where it is being housed. I find it disrespectful,. which is a littld odd i suppose. I suppose it’s the same reason why i can’t swear in church, did not get married in church. I’m not sure if it’s a respect thing, or just fear that maybe i’m wrong and the lord will be out to get me for blasphemy!

    INteresting post. Pleased to be back on the mailing list!


  • I love Gloucester Cathedral, unfortunately I don’t get there very often these days, but still love the place, especially the 46, 14th and 12 19th century misericords.

  • amazing – genuine effort and thought gone into those – they look brilliant in that setting too

  • Big applause to the cathedral for such a courageous step. I love art and that includes modern art. I don’t always understand it and sometimes am horrified however I like that – to have a strong reaction and to be able to make up my own mind. In fact when I can I visit the Saatchi gallery in London.

  • I agree with the other commenters – it does look stunning. How long is it on for?

  • I was in Gloucester last Tues and wish I had known this was on. Definitely worth another trip up for a first had viewing. I too love the Anthony Gormley and although I know some may find this exhibition sacriligious in some sense, I think it increases the power of the pieces and draws people into a sacred space. Thanks for posting this, great recommendation!

  • Wow, I would love to go to something like that

  • Looks fascinating and fabulous. Love the Gormley. I think I probably need to go to experience it properly!

  • I have to say – that is VERY daring and I applaud the Cathedral for being so open ad progressive!! Wow.

    Love the burger, very funny… as to the rest. Mmmh. Interesting. Will have to ponder longer to decide what I think!


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