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Eerie Autumnal Art In A Church Belfry

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 32 months ago
Eerie Autumnal Art In A Church Belfry
Tales from the Autumn House (installation view). Image courtesy Marcus Tylor
Tales from the Autumn House (installation view). Image courtesy Marcus Tylor
Tales from the Autumn House (installation view). Image courtesy Marcus Tylor
Tales from the Autumn House (installation view). Image courtesy Marcus Tylor
Tales from the Autumn House (installation view). Image courtesy Marcus Tylor
Tales from the Autumn House (installation view). Image courtesy Marcus Tylor
Tales from the Autumn House (installation view). Image courtesy Marcus Tylor
Tales from the Autumn House (installation view). Image courtesy Marcus Tylor
Tales from the Autumn House (installation view). Image courtesy Marcus Tylor
Tales from the Autumn House (installation view). Image courtesy Marcus Tylor
Tales from the Autumn House (installation view). Image courtesy Marcus Tylor
Tales from the Autumn House (installation view). Image courtesy Marcus Tylor

Churches have been closely linked with art, even before the Renaissance, so it stands to reason they make excellent settings for contemporary art too. Certainly this is the case with the belfry of St. John on Bethnal Green — currently hosting a small immersive art installation, Tales from the Autumn House.

Piles of leaves and candles mark the way in, as visitors follow the trail upstairs to the entrance of the darkened belfry. The room itself is full of surreal autumnal imagery — trees appear to break out of the walls, keys hanging off the branches. Further exploration reveals tableaux on either side consisting of leaf litter, fruit and framed photographs.

A religious soundtrack mixes with that of the traffic outside. Crows caw and leaves crackle underfoot, further adding to the feeling of being in a forest not far from a main road. The low lighting and use of candles lends Tales from the Autumn House an eerie atmosphere, and we enjoyed experiencing it on our own — simply losing ourselves in this make-believe world.

There is a loose narrative to the exhibition, around unlocking the secrets of the season and nature. But only snippets are revealed through abstract texts; it never feels cohesive but this adds to the ethereal nature of the experience.

This collaboration between artists Renaud Haslan and Joanna Vale is a surreal multi-sensory experience, and the church belfry is the perfect setting for it.

Tales from the Autumn House is on at St. John on Bethnal Green, 200 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9PA until 2 October. Entrance is free.

Last Updated 12 September 2014

R.naud

Thank you for your nice review. I'd like to add that we have a series of free events linked to the exhibition/installation which is still running this weekend Fri 6pm-9pm, Sat & Sun 12pm - 5pm. On Thursday 25th Sept, from 6pm, we have a Poetry Night taking place within the installation on the theme of Autumn. Feel free to join as a listener or you can bring along a poem or 2 and share them with us. Finally on Thursday 2nd October we will celebrate the last day of the exhibition with a free performance by renowned cellist Jo Quail who will play a selection of pieces in line with the theme of the installation, performing Bach as well as her own compositions from her new album and specially written pieces complimenting our Tales from the Autumn House exhibition. Come and join us on that special evening and immerse yourself in this surreal multi-sensory experience.