Liverpool Cathedral is set to host the world debut of a spectacular art installation called Coalescence, created by award-winning British designer Paul Cocksedge, whose work is celebrated around the globe. The breathtaking artwork, which is free to experience, will open on 9 February and run until 12 March.
Visitors will be invited to admire the extraordinary sculpture, which will be illuminated and suspended from the magnificent Gothic ceiling of the Grade I listed building, as thousands of pieces of coal sparkle in the light to reveal their surprising beauty.
Prompting questions around energy consumption, the history of fossil fuels and the need to reach net zero, Coalescence features over half a tonne of coal, which represents the amount of power needed to light one 200W light bulb for a year.
The installation also encourages visitors to explore the beauty and value of different types of materials. Challenging the perception that all coal is dirty and polluting, the impressive installation, spanning six metres in diameter, is made from anthracite, a type of coal with a high lustre that is low in impurities. The anthracite used to create the artwork has been specially sourced from one of the last remaining coal mines in the UK.
Speaking about the creative process and the concept behind Coalescence, Paul Cocksedge said: “This is a simple idea that has led to an incredible, educational journey. I’ve become really close to the material, hand-drilling thousands of pieces of coal to make this artwork.
“What I enjoy about this piece is that it sculpturally represents energy, as well as connecting to a huge range of challenges society is facing around where our energy comes from, how it’s sourced and what it costs. Showing this in Liverpool Cathedral, in this year in particular, felt very timely.”
The Dean of Liverpool, The Very Revd Dr Sue Jones, said:
“Paul Cocksedge is exceptionally talented and his work has been shown at iconic locations around the world. We’re enormously grateful that Paul has chosen to debut his fantastic Coalescence installation in the wonderful surroundings of Liverpool Cathedral.
“As a place of encounter, contemplation and reflection, Liverpool Cathedral is a space where people can come to find a sense of joy and wonder as they connect with thought-provoking artworks like Coalescence. Our previous collaborations with contemporary artists have been extremely well received and we’re very much looking forward to encouraging people to take time out to appreciate the remarkable beauty of Coalescence as they consider some of the issues explored by the piece.”
As a designer, Paul Cocksedge has spent much of his time working with local craftsmen and many of his pieces have been created in Liverpool including his copper and aluminium Freeze desk, which involved working with the city’s shipbuilders to push the boundaries of metalwork. His previous work also includes KISS for City of Milan; Please Be Seated for London Design Festival and British Land; the Living Staircase for Ampersand in London; and an acclaimed solo exhibition at the Friedman Benda Gallery in New York.
The Coalescence installation, supported by Carpenters Workshop Gallery, forms part of a programme of events, exhibitions and artworks leading up to Liverpool Cathedral’s 100th anniversary, which falls next year.
For more information about Coalescence and the wider events programme at Liverpool Cathedral, please visit liverpoolcathedral.org.uk and for further details on Paul Cocksedge, please visit www.paulcocksedgestudio.com.