WOLVERHAMPTON, UK.- Drawing inspiration from the industrial past of Wolverhampton and the Black Country region, Cornford & Cross have created a powerful and darkly beautiful installation which addresses issues of rising fuel costs, climate change and increasing economic instability at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.
Created using tons of regionally sourced coal, the installation aims to reconnect people with the physicality of coal, the history of coal production in the region and to evoke memories of a past era when it was commonplace to have a supply of coal in most homes. It also aims to raise questions about the sustainability of imported energy sources in the future.
Wolverhampton Art Gallery was founded by industrialists Philip Horseman and Sidney Cartwright and the regions economic and social development was built upon industry and production, returning coal to the Gallery completes the cycle and acts as a reminder of the regions heritage.
The artists will also select paintings by Edward Butler-Bayliss for display in the Focus Gallery. The son of a foundry owner, Bulter-Baylliss painted landscapes of Wolverhampton and surrounding areas, depicting the smoky atmosphere, furnaces and the labour of the workers and children.
Coal as energy source is a global concern and a hotly debated topic at the moment. The Times reported in the summer that China may face an electricity crisis due to coal shortage and in September protestors were taken to court after causing £35,000 damage to a coal-fired power station in Kent.
The sea of coal installed in the gallery is expected to have a sensory impact upon visitors and will draw out both the historical and contemporary significance of coal to the region.