The artist’s first permanent outdoor public art installation in the UK opens in London
Echolocation, a new outdoor projection by the acclaimed British artist Mat Collishaw opens to the public on 14 April in Kingston, London. Excavating more than a millennium of local history, the eleven-metre-long, three-channel video installation is on view at the Undercroft, a long alleyway that runs between the river Thames and All Saints Church.
Referencing the church’s heritage, bats and Kingston’s prodigal son Eadweard Muybridge, the specially commissioned work is the artist’s first permanent outdoor public art installation in the UK.
The original chapel of All Saints Church was the coronation site of several Saxon kings including Athelstan, who was crowned the first king of a unified England in 925. The building survived Henry VIII’s reformation and saw the transformation of Kingston from scattered settlement to modern day town, but it was eventually replaced by All Saints Church.
Collishaw drew on the chapel’s history to create a virtual version of the long-gone church using Lidar or laser scanning – a process that has parallels with the echolocation method used by bats.
The atmospheric 3D scans were assembled to create a film that vividly reveals the space and scale of the chapel. Projected onto a semi-transparent mesh the film has an ethereal quality, like a free-flowing X-ray of an unseen past, a ghostly palimpsest that interrogates the history of this ancient place.
Kingston is a bat conservation area, and seven species have been recorded across the river in Bushy Park.
Bats are harbingers of change but unlike the spectral recreation of the church and its Gothic interior – which is based on its actual architecture – the bats in the video are animations, a reference to the work of Eadweard Muybridge.
Muybridge was the Kingston resident who pioneered stop-motion photography and whose work laid the foundation for motion pictures. Born in 1830, he was christened Edward at All Saints, only later assuming the spelling Eadweard after the Saxon kings. He died, aged 74, a mile from the site of the installation.
Reflecting the shadowy visuals of the film, a soundscape composed of a single cello overlaid with a virtual choir, ambient sounds and the soft timbre of bats is an evocation of times past and the mysterious system by which bats navigate.
Best experienced at dusk, Echolocation reveals the hidden history of this once sacred ground.
Created in collaboration with Kingston University, the installation was commissioned by Canadian and Riverside Estates Ltd, owners of Riverside Walk.
About the artist
Mat Collishaw (b. 1966) is a key figure in an important generation of contemporary British artists. He began his career exhibiting the acclaimed work Bullet Hole at the legendary show Freeze in 1988. His broad practice includes sculpture, photography, film and installation, and his work has been exhibited in numerous solo shows around the world. Collishaw’s work is in numerous public and private collections including; Tate and British Council Collections, both London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Arter Foundation, Istanbul; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego and the Museum of Old and New Art, New South Wales. The artist lives and works in London.
Location: 6 Riverside Walk, Kingston KT1 1QN
Opening times: Daily until 11pm
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