Art at Chichester Cathedral

The artists have been shortlisted and their work is on display. Here Chichester Cathedral's Ruth Poyner explains how you can help decide who will create the cathedral's major new artwork

CATHEDRALS are intriguing places. For the visitor to Chichester Cathedral, there is so much to take in: stunning art and architecture, exhibitions, concerts, guided tours, and at least three services every day, often accompanied by the transporting sounds of the choir. And then of course, there is that special something, that ‘atmosphere’ or ‘otherness’, that works on so many visitors in unexpected ways. ‘Inspiring’ they say, ‘breathtaking’, ‘timeless’, and so on.  The care of all these elements is the responsibility of Chichester’s Dean and Chapter. Earlier this year the Chapter announced a bold plan to commission a major new artwork, to hang at the front of the nave and immediately visible as visitors enter the cathedral. The cathedral itself is internationally renowned for its modern art and has works by artists including Marc Chagall, Graham Sutherland, John Piper, Hans Feibusch and Cecil Collins. The launch of this new commission is timed to mark the centenary of the birth of Walter Hussey (1909-1985), Dean of Chichester from 1955 to 1977. Described by the art historian Kenneth Clark as ‘the last great patron of art in the Church of England’, Hussey commissioned many of the ‘jewels’ for which Chichester is now famous, such as the Chagall stained glass window and the Piper tapestry behind the high altar.When first installed, however, many of these jewels were controversial and this new commission is no less delicate – the brief to find an interpretation of the resurrected Christ that expresses ‘new life, transformation and hope.’Chapter is working with the arts consultancy Modus Operandi, and has nominated a selection panel to advise it, comprised of distinguished names with diverse expertise and chaired by Tim Llewellyn, former director of the Henry Moore Foundation. The selection panel will make recommendations, but it is the Dean and Chapter who will take the final decision, and crucially they would like visitors to give their views; they hope to commission a stunning new artwork but will also say no if simply nothing works.This is an exciting and sensitive project, then, and five internationally known artists are participating: Dorothy Cross, Antony Gormley, Ana Maria Pacheco, Jaume Plensa and Mark Wallinger. Their ideas and proposals, some of which are more ‘finished’ than others, are indicative of the wide variations of approach to contemporary art practice today. They will be exhibited in the Cathedral’s North Transept from November 17 to December 14. The cathedral is open every day from 7.15am until 6.00pm with free entry and is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to have their say on who should win.

For more information about the cathedral call 01243 782595 or visit

Jaume PlensaJaume Plensa has lived and worked in Berlin, Brussels, England, France, USA and currently spends his time between Paris and Barcelona. Born in Barcelona in 1955 Jaume has been a teacher at the �cole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris and his sculptural work has gone through several stages developed largely with recuperation materials, iron, bronze and copper. Besides his sculptural work he is often works on stage design and costumes for opera and theatre productions.An important part of his work deals in the public spaces. He has permanent works including La Riva di Acheronte in Germany (pictured), as well as Spain, France, Japan and England. He also has a piece entitled Breathing, which is installed in the new BBC building in London and Conversation � Nice for the Place Mass�na in Nice. He is currently working on new projects such as Wishing Well for the city of Calgary in Canada, World Voices for the Burj Dubai building in Dubai and Ogijima’s Soul for the Ogijima Island in Japan.

Ana Maria PachecoBorn in Brazil in 1943, the sculptor, painter and printmaker Ana Maria Pacheco has lived and worked in England since 1973.She has exhibited widely at venues including the Camden Arts Centre, London and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford.In 1996 Ana Maria Pacheco was invited to become the fourth Associate Artist at the National Gallery, London. One of her most notable works, Shadows of the Wanderer (pictured) was first shown in 2008.

Mark WallingerMark has had many major exhibitions at venues including Tate Liverpool and the Serpentine Gallery. His sculpture Ecce Homo (pictured) was the first project chosen for the vacant Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square and he represented Great Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2001. He has been nominated twice for the Turner Prize and was the winner in 2007. His video Via Dolorosa, is installed in the Duomo crypt in Milan.

Antony GormleyOver the past 25 years Antony Gormley has created some of the most ambitious and iconic works of contemporary British sculpture, including his Capacitor (pictured), Field, Angel of the North at Gateshead, Quantum Cloud on the Thames in London, and Another Place, now permanently sited on Crosby Beach near Liverpool. His work has been exhibited extensively at major international galleries and museums including the Tate, Hayward, Whitechapel and Serpentine galleries in the UK; the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He was born in London in 1950.

Dorothy CrossDorothy Cross came to widespread attention when she began a series of works featuring cow skins and cow udders. Her art is designed to reinvigorate the lives of everyday things. For example, part of a currach, an Irish boat, that she found on a beach was used to create the work pictured right.Dorothy was Born in Cork in 1956, and has had numerous solo exhibitions worldwide most recently at The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin. A retrospective of her work was staged at The Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2005. She has been commissioned to create several public works, the most significant being Ghost Ship, in Dublin Bay in 1999.

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