THE STONE OF FOLLY
HOLLY ANTRUM, MIKE COOTER, WILLIAM COBBING, KATIE CUDDON, BENEDICT DREW, MARTIN NEWTH, FRANCESCO PEDRAGLIO, HEATHER PHILLIPSON, NICHOLAS POPE, TOM WOOLNER
Curated by William Cobbing
29 September 2012 – 18 November 2012
The exhibition The Stone of Folly references Arthur’s Stone, a Neolithic site in the Golden Valley, nearby Down Stairs, which has become the subject of local folklore and forgotten histories.
The site incorporates a broken glacial boulder resting on an ancient burial chamber, where King Arthur (Owd Artur) mythically slew a giant, leaving indentations of his elbows in the stone as he fell to the ground. Over the years, the morphology of the stone has changed due to it being quarried, with the rubble being used in local buildings. The term ‘stone of folly’ comes from a medieval allegory of madness and stupidity (akin to “rocks in the head”), referenced in Hieronymus Bosch’s painting ‘The Stone Operation’ (1488), in which a surgeon is depicted removing a stone-like lump from a patient’s head, accompanied by the inscription “Master, cut the stone out quickly / My name if Lubbert Das.”
For the Stone of Folly, curator William Cobbing has invited artists to contribute works that play with the overlapping notions of fantastical narrative and shifting materiality. The exhibition will engage with ideas of superstition, alchemy, folly, entropy and flux that derive from the disjointed historical accounts of the site, and, more broadly, how we ascribe meaning to found objects and places. The exhibition questions the essence of temporal materiality, through sculpture and installation, digital, performance and text-based forms.
A publication accompanies the exhibition featuring a specially commissioned text by Jonathan P. Watts. Download the PDF here.
All images of the exhibition can be seen here.