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Mat Collishaw: Folly!

April 22, 2016

This summer, Mat Collishaw will be presenting two new site-specific sculptures at the National Trust's Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden in North Yorkshire as part of their Folly! programme.


Mat Collishaw has created two striking new installations for the follies in Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal - a National Trust World Heritage Site in Yorkshire. A co-commission between the Trust and Blain|Southern, the works draw upon the history of the buildings, creating optical illusions that echo ghosts of the follies past.

Situated in the 18th century landscape surrounding the abbey, the follies will be transformed by Collishaw’s immersive and captivating installations. The Banqueting House is the site for a major new 3D zoetrope titled Seria Ludo. The work is a glowing, strobe lit chandelier, covered with 186 carousing Lilliputian figures, conjuring up a scene of excitement and debauchery as complex engineering rouses a spiralling dervish of dissolute behaviour.

Serenely stationed at the edge of the garden’s Moon Ponds, the Temple of Piety will be the setting for a more tranquil work, The Pineal Eye. Echoing the circulat forms of the ponds outside, the mirrored domes conjure upan ethereal mirage of the Roman depiction of piety; a daughter feeding her imprisoned father from her breast - an illusion which mirrors the Georgian relief located on the rear Temple wall.

The canals, ponds and cascade offer pictorial beauty and also function as hydraulic balancing systems for the river Skell that flows through Fountains Abbey. Inspired by this form of release both of Collishaw's works;  Seria Ludo and The Pineal Eye reveal an explosion of tension, with themes that plumb into the follies' principles of pleasure and piety.

Folly! at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal,
Ripon, HG4 3DY
April 23–October 30th 2016