January 28 2015 Latest news:
Emma Knights, Arts Correspondent
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Artist Richard Caston has enjoyed an 18 month artistic journey exploring the ancient architecture of Norwich Cathedral, and now the impressive fruits of his drawing venture are taking centre stage in the historic venue.
The exhibition Living Stones, Richard Caston’s Silent Journey, opens today and runs until February 18, and it offers an intimate and unique look at one of the city’s greatest landmarks.
For Mr Caston, who grew up in Thorpe St Andrew and Blofield Heath and has lived in Germany since 1974, it is also a special tribute to his late mother Edith Caston, for he was inspired to start the project in 2012 because of his trips to the cathedral in between visiting his mother at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Mr Caston, 67, said: “When I started work for the exhibition I really wanted to start from scratch. I did not want to impose something onto the cathedral. I wanted the cathedral to impose something on me.
“I wanted to capture something special about the spirit of the space and find a vision and work with that.
“It all came through drawing. I spent many weeks in the cathedral drawing, and through drawing I opened myself up to what was expressed later, which you might call an awareness of the special atmosphere of the cathedral and my fascination with history and time.
“Most of the work is really about time, about the 900 years of history here and the fact you walk in the footsteps of those who came before and others coming after. We are in this brief period of our lives.”
Mr Caston visited the cathedral at different times of the year and his work features images of the interior and exterior of the building along with special snapshot images of architectural detail.
The starting point for each of his works of art was drawing in the cathedral itself, and then back at his studio in Düsseldorf, Mr Caston incorporated items such as shredded newspaper, illuminated manuscript, pictures of St Benedict, images from his work in Florence and other elements.
The finished exhibition incorporates 10 leporello books - in which Mr Caston documented all his ideas, experiments and research - and 47 works of art.
As well the cathedral itself, Mr Caston said his work was also influenced by the work of artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, and also Caspar David Friedrich and Norfolk’s own John Sell Cotman.
He said: “The exhibition is about how an artist works, what it takes to be an artist, but also what a building or a location can inspire in an artist.
“It is about the cathedral’s intense sense of history, and also its spiritual side. It has a residue of all the devotions that have gone on here.
“That is why I called the exhibition Living Stones. It is almost as though the stones have recorded the life that has been here.”
Norwich Cathedral’s canon librarian Peter Doll said: “Richard Caston’s paintings of his ‘Silent Journey’ are the fruit of long days and weeks of contemplation and engagement over eighteen months. He gives us an extraordinary sense of a living space inhabited not only by God but also by a human past, present, and future.
“All those who love Norwich Cathedral will be enabled to see things they never saw before”.
Mr Caston is married to Beatrice and has two sons, Serge and Julien. He studied art in Norwich in the 1960s before moving to London and studying at Ravensbourne College of Art and Communication.
He taught art at Lowestoft College in the 1970s and moved to Germany in 1974 to take up the post of head of visual arts at the International School of Dusseldorf where he taught until 2011. He continues to live in Germany and also has a base in north Norfolk, and he has exhibited work across Europe including in Germany, the UK, Italy and France.
• Living Stones, Richard Caston’s Silent Journey opens today at Norwich Cathedral’s Hostry and runs until February 18. The exhibition is open Monday to Saturday from 9.30am until 4.30pm and Sunday from midday until 3pm. Admission is free.