Bettina Furnée creates a newly commissioned installation in All Saints and St Andrew's Church, Kingston, in response to the church's historic wall paintings.
Furnée, whose studio is at nearby Wysing Arts Centre, has re-imagined the church's medieval paintings – depicting schemes of good and evil such as the Wheel of the Seven Acts of Corporal Mercy set above the Tree of Evil with Seven Deadly Sins – for a contemporary audience. Her mixed media installation is comprised of seven individually designed robes (known as chasubles) onto which are stitched animal symbols of the Deadly Sins together with the opposing Contrary Virtues, creating characters such as ‘the peacock of humility’ and ‘the toad of generosity’. These reflect a departure from the binaries of medieval morality to a world view in which good and evil are viewed on a single spectrum, and where opposing characteristics might be held safely together. Furnée also reflects on our cultural history of deploying animals (and women) to signify particular concepts or qualities, often undesirable ones.
Furnée has also designed a neon text piece reading ‘A World to Come’ to be displayed alongside the chasubles. The concept of ‘The World to Come’ appears in Christian, Hindu and Jewish thought and refers to the idea that our current world is flawed and will, in the future, be replaced. This concept differs from the idea of heaven or the afterlife, referring instead to a new and better age on Earth.
This exhibition has been funded by The Jerusalem Trust, The Headley Trust and Allchurches Trust. It has been been curated by Art and Christianity. Paul Playford, Grants Officer at Allchurches Trust, said: ‘Art and Christianity play an important role in developing relationships and dialogue between churches and their communities and between different modes of understanding the world and we’re pleased to support them in delivering this installation. Bettina Furnee’s, A World to Come, at All Saints and St Andrew’s Church is a relevant and exciting work that will give many cause to take pause and think deeply about their own spirituality.’
There will also be medieval story telling by local playwright Danny Hopkins at the opening of the exhibition - 12th July.
The exhibition will run from 12th July - 1st October, and is open from 10am-6pm daily.