Talking Lakes Ignite with Michael Shaw the creator of Slung

SLUNG by Michael Shaw at Rheged as part of Lakes Ignite 2018 Michael Shaw with SLUNG at Rheged SLUNG by Michael Shaw now at Rheged for Lakes Ignite 2018

Introducing Michael Shaw… a sculptor who makes site-specific responses to architecture, place and museum collections. This often involves giant inflatables that reinvigorate space and how one can move around the host building.

What will you be creating for Lakes Ignite 2018?

I shall be creating a large inflatable called Slung that will breathe in the Mountain Hall at Rheged, the multidisciplinary arts space and culture hub. It has a mild flavour of Dr Seuss, with a hint of Haribos and the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland!

My artwork for Lakes Ignite, SLUNG… has a mild flavour of Dr Seuss, with a hint of Haribos and the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland!

Sounds interesting… tell us more about your artwork

Slung will rise up out of the building like a genie emerging from its lamp. Rising upwards its tendrils will twist around the Rheged’s slender roof columns. Composed of two inflatables, which unite aerially, the sculpture suggests a pair of lungs that cyclicly inflate and deflate as though breathing. Highly coloured with fluorescent pink and orange stripes, the sculpture will strike a dynamic presence

What are the connections between your artwork for Lakes Ignite and the Lake District as a World Heritage cultural landscape?

The timescale of geological formations has been transposed to the ephemeral rhythms of life’s breath. Slung cyclically inflate and deflate, hanging in Rheged’s Mountain Hall like a pair of lungs. They can breathe deeply, celebrating the fresh air of the Lake District.

The two inflatables writhe together in a dancing display of interaction that is constantly changing as they expand and contract, bumping into one another, nuzzling and shifting on the building’s convection currents. Again, this connects to the ways that wind, water and weather have shaped the local landscape. Hanging suspended and filled with fresh air, each form swells and recedes like the ebb and flow of the landscape with each rainfall.

Overall, Slung is a sculpture that demands not only to be seen, but also to be experienced over time. So, come along to Rheged and witness this breathing spectacle of air, colour, light and pleasing form.

Where will people be able to see your artwork?

In the Mountain Hall at Rheged the multidisciplinary arts space and culture hub.

And when can people visit?

The sculpture will be alive for the duration of Lake’s Ignite, breathing from 8.30am to 10.30pm daily from 10 January 2018.

And a few questions about the Lake District… What makes the Lakes a special place for you?

How the majestic landscape evokes a sense of the otherworldly; meaning one is completely transposed from the urban realities of city life.

During a visit to the Lake District what would be your 3 fave cultural hot spots or events?

I would advise a trip to the Elterwater Merz Barn (where in April 2018, the painter Peter Symonds will take on Kurt Schwitter’s legacy of 3D collage). Moving on to the nearby Grizedale Forest to delight in sculpture in the landscape. If the architectural gem of Bowes Museum is a geographical stretch too far, I would then go to the Arts and Crafts House at Blackwell.

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// VISIT SLUNG BY MICHAEL SHAW AT RHEGED TODAY!

In the Mountain Hall, at the Rheged Centre, until 14 September

Plan your trip to see Slung and also take in some of the events and exhibitions on throughout the year at Rheged, shopping (including a fabulous toy shop), a huge cinema showing the latest films, and enjoy delicious artisan food in the Foodhall and cafés. It’s free to park and come into the centre.

Rheged Centre: Redhills, Penrith, CA11 0DQ

A signature installation in Lakes Ignite 2018, Slung is a huge, vibrant and colourful commissioned artwork by acclaimed artist Michael Shaw at Rheged (Jenny Woolgar Photography)
A signature installation in Lakes Ignite 2018, Slung is a huge, vibrant and colourful commissioned artwork by acclaimed artist Michael Shaw at Rheged (Jenny Woolgar Photography)

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// FIND OUT MORE ABOUT LAKES IGNITE 2018

Lakes Ignite 2018 presents six specially commissioned contemporary artworks to celebrate the Lake District’s designation as a World Heritage site. From January to July 2018, six artists are bringing their creative vision to the Lakes in a unique collection of artworks that are free to visit and explore.

A celebration of contemporary art in a World Heritage landscape

Each installation provides a different perspective on our World Heritage story using very different media including metal, wood, mirrors, inflatables, performance and virtual reality. So, whether you’re 8 or 80, come and spark your imagination in 2018 and experience art in our celebrated Lake District landscape.

Tell us what you think about Lakes Ignite and be entered into a draw to win a hamper of Cumbrian goodies courtesy of Rheged!

Lakes Ignite 2018 – Festival Map
Lakes Ignite 2018 – Festival Map