Speke Hall & Bluecoat: Serena Korda: The Bell Tree

Speke Hall & Bluecoat: Serena Korda: The Bell Tree

Speke Hall & Bluecoat: Serena Korda: The Bell Tree

Venue: Speke Hall
Date(s): 8.9.18 - 28.7.19
Time(s): 10:30 - 16:00

Saturday 8 September – Sunday 28 Jul 2019 

Off-site at Speke Hall / Open Daily 10.30am – 4pm

Bluecoat is delighted to be working with artist Serena Korda and Trust New Art, the National Trust’s programme connecting people to places through contemporary art.

Serena Korda works across performance, sound and sculpture to find and highlight ritual in the everyday, which is developed through encounters, conversations and the researching of abandoned histories.

Set in Speke Hall’s ancient woodlands and grounds, The Bell Tree draws on the hall’s hidden history. Korda reconsiders aspects of communion and tradition, including underexplored feminist narratives or ‘herstories’ and alternative histories of folklore and witchcraft. The public commission is at Speke Hall, with a smaller element installed in Bluecoat’s garden.

Inspired by the folklore that surrounds the native bluebells that grow beneath its branches, The Bell Tree celebrates the dark side of the fairy kingdom. This new sculpture comprising ceramics and an audio track explores the spirit of this ancient site and the power of myth embodied in this most protected of English flowers.

Continuing Korda’s fascination in making sounds beyond human hearing audible is reflected in the soundscape that forms part of The Bell Tree (which can be listened to on the National Trust website) which transforms you into a nature spirit. Stand in front of The Bell Tree, watch the bells move in the breeze and then, through listening to the audio on your phone, immerse yourself in the ringing of bluebells played by the bell ringers of Garston St. Michael’s Church. These melodic sounds are accompanied by an angry band of fairies, performed by local choir Mostly Madrigals and a capella group Mouthful.

Speke Hall is free to visit with a National Trust Membership.

Serena Korda’s work reconsiders aspects of tradition in our lives, under-explored feminist narratives – herstories – and alternative histories of folklore and witchcraft. She was the 2016-17 Norma Lipman & BALTIC Fellow in Ceramic Sculpture at Newcastle University, and has curated The Daughters of Necessity exhibition at The Hepworth (Dec 2017 – Jun 2018), choosing ceramic works from their collection, sited alongside her own. She is currently working on a new commission for Horniman Museum & Gardens.

Image credits: Chris Egon Searle.

Cover image: Rob Battersby of The Bell Tree sister installation at Bluecoat Garden.