Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates launches Sanctum installation

A temporary installation in Bristol sits within the walls of the disused church to create an artistic space.

BRISTOL – Fourteenth century church in Bristol, United Kingdom houses a temporary structure built for artistic collaboration. American artist Theaster Gates realised the Sanctum project – his first in the United Kingdom – to bring together musicians, performers and speakers from across Bristol, in the southwest of England, for a sound performance lasting 24 days, as part of the programme for Bristol 2015 European Green Capital supported by Arts Council England.

The artist seeks to bring new life to sites that have been left in disuse, in this case making use of Temple Church – a building which was bombed during the blitz in 1940, and all that remains are the walls. ‘Sanctum is a collaboration with the city’s materials, the city’s administrators, the city’s artists and musicians to engage in quietly restorative work and to amplify the city’s unheard voices,’ explains Gates.

A temporary structure was formed within the walls of the church with use of materials sourced solely from the local area. The insertion is shaped predominantly from reuse timbers juxtaposing the rhythmic, rigidity of the stone church walls. Some materials such as timbers, bricks and doors were sourced from former Georgian houses across the city. Bricks were donated by The Salvation Army taken from the now demolished nineteenth century Bristol citadel. Doors which form the flooring of the building were obtained from a former chocolate factory, donated by Generator South West. Wood was also donated from the Prince Street swing bridge, currently under refurbishment. The structure transforms the site back into a functional venue – expressing the creativity of the local community.







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