Requiem arrives on Wearside as part of Glass Exchange

ARTWORK from one of the UK’s leading contemporary artists has arrived at National Glass Centre as part of a major exhibition.

Katie Paterson’s Requiem arrived in Sunderland after being exhibited at the Ingleby Gallery in Edinburgh, as part of National Glass Centre’s major Glass Exchange exhibition. Katie was one of four prominent UK artists invited by a panel of artists and curators to create new glass works as part of the nationally-acclaimed exhibition.

These celebrated artists had not worked in glass before, and worked closely with artists specialising in glass at National Glass Centre to make their visions a reality.

Glass Exchange celebrates Sunderland’s status as a world-leading centre for artistic practice in glass and draws on Wearside’s strong links with glass-making and British ecclesiastical history. The other artists were Monster Chetwynd, Ryan Gander and Pascale Marthine Tayou.

Katie completed two inter-related projects for Glass Exchange which tell the story of earthly existence: Requiem, a glass urn filled with samples of dust that chart the history of our planet and The Moment, a series of hourglasses filled with dust from meteors that pre-date the Earth. The hourglasses have been on display at National Glass Centre and at Durham Cathedral since March.

Now Requiem has arrived on Wearside and is on display in the Collection Gallery at National Glass Centre. The glass urn has been filled with hundreds of samples of ‘dust.’ The earliest samples are ground from geological items that pre-date Earth’s history and they go on to chart the progression of time with later samples drawing attention to the impact of humanity on the Earth over a relatively short period.

Julia Stephenson, Head of Arts at National Glass Centre, said: “It’s a wonderful piece. It’s about perspective and sustainability – highlighting the fact we we need to be more considerate about how we treat our planet.

“We’re delighted Requiem is here in Sunderland, it’s an important part of the Glass Exchange project. We’ve had a terrific response to the overall exhibition, it has been reviewed favourably in the national press, but we’ve also had a very positive response from visitors locally and regionally.”

Glasgow-born Katie said: “My projects always start with a core idea, and then rely on others to bring them to life. It was a joy to work with James Maskrey and his team at National Glass Centre – he translated my scraps of ideas into beautifully crafted objects. I’ve never before had the opportunity to work in hot glass, so to be able to work with James at this level, in a world-class centre of glass making, was a privilege.

“James made more than 400 glass objects for Requiem, and really pushed the limits of scale whilst retaining a delicacy of the forms. I was really happy with the results.”

The other three Glass Exchange projects were:

  • Ryan Gander’s large-scale commission, sited in a vacant shop front in Sunderland city centre, is a life-sized comment on the decline of the British high street. Ghost Shop depicts an abandoned betting shop with all fixtures and fittings made in clear glass, including details such as an upturned bin spilling out discarded betting slips, and a pile of unopened post. Ghost Shop can be found at 61 High Street West, Sunderland, SR1 3DP.
  • Monster Chetwynd’s installation The Life of St. Bede involves the creation of four imaginative dioramas capturing key scenes from the lives of local saints St Bede and St Cuthbert. Chetwynd’s commission is on display in the Galilee Chapel at Durham Cathedral until September 11.
  • Pascale Marthine Tayous Colonial Ghost invites the viewer to consider connections between colonisation and the growth of Christianity in African countries. The artwork consists of Christian crosses, each made using five human figures. Following its recent display at Sunderland Minster, Colonial Ghost is now running the full length of National Glass Centre’s Balcony Gallery and will also be on display until September 11.

Requiem will be on display at National Glass Centre until September 11. Entry is free for visitors.

Julia added: “We’re proud the artists worked with our own specialist teams at National Glass Centre to realise their ideas. The exchange of skills and knowledge between Katie, Pascale, Monster and Ryan and some of the most highly-skilled glass artists in the country was absolutely fascinating.”

Glass Exchange is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence Fund, with additional funding from Art Fund, Henry Moore Foundation and the Coastal Communities Fund, and with thanks to the University of Sunderland and Durham Cathedral.

For further details of all of the artists’ commissions, please visit:

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