Peter Marlow to Exhibit at Coventry Cathedral

February 8, 2016 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Events, Photographers | 0 Comments | |
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Peter Marlow’s photographs depicting all 42 of the cathedrals of the Church of England are to be exhibited inside The Chapel of Christ the Servant at Coventry Cathedral. This is the first time that the Magnum photographer's work has been displayed in one of the spaces featured in the series, and the first time the project has been exhibited outside of London. Marlow developed the strategy of shooting a majority of the cathedrals from the same position: looking east towards the altar as the natural light of dawn broke through the main window. This viewpoint and lighting adds depth to the visual experience of the building, and the discipline of this strict approach allowed the power of the spaces to unfold in the dark. Each cathedral was shot on large format film, bringing into sharp relief the splendour of the architecture, regardless of the style. The exhibition opens on 29 April and runs through 5 September 2016.

Press Release

The English Cathedral by Peter Marlow

29 April – 5 September 2016
The Chapel of Christ the Servant, Coventry Cathedral

Peter Marlow’s photographs depicting all 42 of the cathedrals of the Church of England are to be exhibited inside The Chapel of Christ the Servant at Coventry Cathedral. This is the first time that the work has been displayed in one of the spaces featured in the series, and the first time the project has been exhibited outside of London. The display is a continuation of Coventry Cathedral’s tradition of, and commitment to, exhibiting work by contemporary British artists.
 
In 2008, Marlow was commissioned by Royal Mail, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the completion of St Paul’s Cathedral, to photograph six cathedrals. The resulting images of Lichfield, Belfast, Gloucester, St David's, Westminster, and St Magnus in Orkney were issued as a set of six commemorative stamps and a miniature sheet. Once the commission was complete, however, Marlow was inspired to continue the project and in the following four years shot all 42 of the cathedrals of the Church of England. This endeavour can be viewed as a contemporary update to tradition of church photography in England, particularly the work of Frederick Evans and Edwin Smith. Marlow’s photographic typology of England’s Anglican cathedrals was published in a monograph by Merrell in 2012.
 
‘I began by photographing the aesthetic highlights of each building, but the images seemed to merge with one another. In order to differentiate each place I needed to find a more rigorous and systematic approach, so I adopted the simple strategy of photographing the naves looking along the central axis.’

Marlow developed the strategy of shooting a majority of the cathedrals from the same position: looking east towards the altar as the natural light of dawn broke through the main window. Each shoot was devoid of artificial lighting creating a representation of each cathedral removed from the modern age. This viewpoint and lighting adds depth to the visual experience of the building, and the discipline of this strict approach allowed the power of the spaces to unfold in the dark. Each cathedral was shot on large format film, bringing into sharp relief the splendour of the architecture, regardless of the style.
 
‘The Chapel of Christ the Servant with it’s forty two huge vertical window niches, is serendipitously perfect for the collection of the forty two English cathedrals I photographed. In so many ways Sir Basil Spence’s architecture captured the spirit of a new age after the war, and I feel very honoured to be able to take over the whole chapel next summer in the company of the many artists Spence commissioned, who are now rightly seen as key practitioners of the British modern movement.’

‘The photographs are an incredible record of the very particular space that cathedrals offer, as places for reflection and inspiration, through both their art and architecture, as well as their religious significance. Coventry Cathedral, with its contemporary and ground-breaking art and architecture is the perfect space to introduce Peter’s work, and I am very pleased that he has chosen to bring the collection to us, especially at a time that we are re-establishing our programme of exhibitions in preparation for our cathedral centenary in 2018. It will make a lasting impression on those who visit, and encourage them to make their own pilgrimage to other cathedrals in the country.' - The Very Revd John Witcombe MA MPhil / Dean of Coventry

Peter Marlow (b. 1952, Kenilworth, England) embarked on his professional photojournalistic career in 1975. He joined Magnum Photos in 1980, became a full member in 1986, and held the post of President of the agency for five years. His major projects have been concerned with aspects of contemporary British life and 1993 he published Liverpool - Looking out to Sea (Jonathan Cape), the culmination of a six-year project photographing the city. In recent years, Marlow has worked more extensively in colour and concentrated on his exploration of the physical and personal landscape. He continues to work on his own projects but also commissioned assignments
 
Exhibitions include Point of Interest, London at Night and The English Cathedral at The Wapping Project Bankside, Magnum Contact Sheets (Magnum Agency London, and touring), No Such Thing as Society - Photography in Britain 1967-1987 from the British Council and Arts Council Collection, at Hayward Gallery which toured to Centre Pompidou, Paris, amongst other international venues. His work is in numerous collections including the The Art’s Council of Great Britain, Qatar Museum’s Authority, Centre Pompidou, Harry Ransom Centre, Texas, Museum of New Zealand, Wellington, Archive of Birmingham City Library, and the Fuji Art Museum, Tokyo.

The English Cathedral by Peter Marlow
29 April – 5 September 2016

The Chapel of Industry, Coventry Cathedral,
1 Hill Top, Coventry, CV1 5AB
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 10.00 – 17.00. Sunday 12.00 – 16.00
http://www.coventrycathedral.org.uk

The exhibition is supported and made possible by a Grant for the Arts funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

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