Water colours: Art in an alternative setting

Artworks by leading British artists alight on Northamptonshire’s scenic waterways as part of the East Midlands Igniting Ambition Festival and the UK’s Cultural Olympiad
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The Independent Culture

Environmental artist Steve Messam has erected seven four-metre high red spires in order to explore the journey of water through Northamptonshire’s rivers, canals, water towers and reservoirs. They are set in the Oxford Canal, near the historic narrow boating village of Braunston, which is the heart of the UK canal system.

The installation is set against the backdrop of All Saints Church, ‘the cathedral of the canals’ within rural Northamptonshire. It has been set up to look at both the county’s relationship to its canal network and its longstanding reputation for being ‘the county of spires and squires.’

A smaller installation, 84 Spires will act as a prelude to Seven Spires, with 84 two-foot long ‘mini’ spires installed as a temporary art installation on a lake at Barnwell Country Park, relating to the the number of spires that still exist in the county.

Steve Messam is best known for his pieces in Cumbria and for founding FRED - Europe’s largest annual site-specific art festival, when ran from 2004-2008. His works include Beached, 2007, where he filled a beach with thousands of sandcastles and paper flags; Landscape Bubble, in 2006 in which a bubble was thrown over a redundant building in the North Pennines, and Souvenir in 2006 with a line of giant balls made from hundreds of red umbrellas in the heart of Shanghai.

Seven Spires can be seen from August 18-29

For more information visit www.flow-northamptonshire.com