Evocative art: The Family of Man, To Give Light and The Siren Installation
Last week I accompanied my father to a summer’s evening concert at Snape Maltings. I am old enough (just) to remember being driven past the old Maltings when it was being converted into a concert venue from 1965 to 1967. It was one of the earliest examples of an industrial building being repurposed for arts use. The whole site has expanded considerably over the intervening five decades. As well as the main concert hall there is now the smaller Britten Studio, rehearsal rooms, cafes, restaurants and bars, holiday accommodation and a variety of retail outlets including the Snape Antiques Centre and The Maltings Gallery.
All round Snape Maltings has pitched itself as a cultural centre and as such hosts visiting art installations that are placed amongst permanent works by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.
When I was at the Maltings back in June, for a sublime performance by Vox Luminis as part of the the Aldeburgh Festival, a fitting installation was on display called ‘To Give Light (Northern Aspirational Charms) by Ryan Gander.
Last week, we saw another art installation had joined ‘To Give Light’. Round the other side of the Concert Hall, near the main entrance, there is a slightly raised mound between the Maltings and the River Alde. Set on the lawn, unmissable and incongruous, currently stands a fisherman’s hut complete with ‘A’ board pavement signs.
However, there’s nobody selling fish from this hut. Instead, a small crowd of carved people trapped inside the hut gaze out at our world in dismay at the polluted and damaged oceans. (This work was originally sited on Aldeburgh Beach facing out across the North Sea. It had been commissioned for the Siren Festival, Aldeburgh.)
The pavement advertising boards draw our attention to the plight of marine mammals and
the sign written boards hanging on the hut further detail many of the shocking facts regarding the precarious state of the oceans.
‘Siren’ is an ecological art installation that disturbs and informs. It is the type of intriguing and evocative work that affirms a place for visual culture within the wider environmental discourse.
9 thoughts on “Evocative art: The Family of Man, To Give Light and The Siren Installation”
Thanks for the tour and the excellent photographs of a fascinating place, I haven’t been there for decades so wouldn’t recognise it at all.
Yes it certainly has changed over the years, but fingers crossed it won’t become overdeveloped.
What a lot to see and such variety. Plus the site itself looks beautiful.
It is a very popular local place that also attracts visitors from all over the world during the Aldeburgh Festival.
This post is (among other things) a real wake-up call to visit Cragside, which I’m ashamed not to have seen yet, though it’s at our end of the country. The Siren installation looks very thought-provoking. I hope it’ll continue to have an audience.
Every time I see Cragside mentioned somewhere I kick myself. Went and strolled around the gardens and for some inexplicable reason didn’t visit the house! I think the Siren installation may go on a tour. It would be fantastic if it was set up on College Green so all the MPs might take notice – you can only dream.
Ha! Dream on ….
Thanks for sharing this amazing creative and performing arts location Agnes. Much more interesting than Boris.
I think drying paint is more interesting than B. Johnson!