Meeting Point: Dales Countryside Museum

Semerwater © David Murphy

Semerwater © David Murphy

Lake Semerwater in the Yorkshire Dales National Park was home to a brand new contemporary floating pontoon in October 2016 as part of a unique exhibition by artist David Murphy and the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes.

Watch a video of SPEAR

  • Facts

    Title Spear
    Historical Sites Lake Semerwater, Dales Countryside Museum, Hawes
    Lead Artists David Murphy
    Artwork Sculpture Installation and Performance
    Partners / Stakeholders Dales Countryside Museum, Arts&Heritage and Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund
    Budget £8000.00
    Development 6 months
    Dates 28 and 30 October 2016, as part of Museums At Night
  • Description

    Outline

    'Spear' at Semerwater Lake, David Murphy, Casswell Bank Architects. © Samuel Little

    ‘Spear’ at Semerwater Lake, David Murphy, Casswell Bank Architects. © Samuel Little

     

    The project is part of the Meeting Point project led by Arts&Heritage, which saw nine new contemporary art installations at four museums in the North East and five museums in Yorkshire during 2016. Meeting Point is funded by Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund.

    The project was an architectural intervention on Lake Semerwater – celebrating one of the museums’ most treasured exhibits and remembering the myths and legends of Semerwater, SPEAR, saw an architectural-scale copper spearhead installed on the lake’s waters over two nights, Friday 28 & Saturday 29 October 2016.

    The fully-accessible installation reached 30metres across Lake Semerwater, connected to the shore by a floating walkway. Visitors had the chance to explore the artwork and to view the landscape from a unique position on the lake itself.

    Taking place during the UK’s Museums at Night festival 2016, a series of events helped to bring the installation to life. Music, readings and special performances from Sion Parkinson told the story of Lake Semerwater and its mythical past.

    Artist David Murphy said: “Visitors to the Dales Countryside Museum will know that one of its most precious objects is a Bronze Age spearhead, found on the shores of Lake Semerwater in 1937. What many people won’t know is that – according to local folklore – a city once existed on the site of Lake Semerwater, but a curse sent it deep beneath the water. SPEAR reflects elements of Sir William Watson’s ‘The Ballad of Semerwater’, which famously recounts the tale of the lost city, and at the same time makes a physical link to the treasures the lake has bestowed on the area. In a way we’re returning the spearhead to the lake, where it was discovered”

    SPEAR WILL BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC FROM FRIDAY 28 OCTOBER UNTIL SUNDAY 30 OCTOBER 2016

    THERE WILL BE A SPECIAL EVENING EVENT ON SATURDAY 29 OCTOBER WHICH INCLUDES A NEW PIECE FOR SOLO VOICE BY ARTIST SIÔN PARKINSON, FOOD AND DRINKS BY THE GIMLET BAR, ALONG WITH POETRY READINGS, FIRE AND SONG. 16.00 – 21.00

    *

    THE EVENTS ARE FREE AND NO TICKETS OR RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED

     

    Objectives

    • The project is to bring together the origin mythology of the lake with archaeological finds
    • To create an atmospheric space to alter our perceptions of the surrounding landscape
    • An opportunity to create an extraordinary event

    Process

    David Murphy in studio © Jonathan Turner

    David Murphy in studio © Jonathan Turner

     

    Arts&Heritage has supported the nine participating museums throughout the process, sharing knowledge of presenting contemporary art projects and commissions in non-traditional art spaces.

    A networking event between the participating museums and 40 artists from across the UK took place at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and visits to artists’ studios were arranged. Museum teams also met with peers at other properties to learn how they successfully delivered contemporary art projects at their museums and heritage sites.

    All museums developed their own Artist’s Brief. Following the networking event artists were invited to send in an expression of interest to museums that interested therm.

    Three artists were shortlisted by each museum to draw up a more detailed proposal and were paid £500 each

    Realisation

    Information to follow

    Budget

    £8,000 to include all materials, travel and installation costs

    £500 paid to each of 3 artists shortlisted

  • Audience Engagement

    Marketing

    • The commission was used to raise the profile of Dales Countryside Museum to the local audience and to attract new audiences
    • To attract audiences to the Museums At Night programme
    • To attract contemporary visual artists to reinterpret the Dales Countryside Museum site
    • To develop and build a regional and national audience for the Meeting Point project commissions

    A marketing campaign for the Meeting Point project was led and delivered by Emma Pybus and David Brookbanks.

    The Meeting Point project was documented by Jonathan Turner and Peter Spence

    Engagement

    SPEAR WAS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC FROM FRIDAY 28 OCTOBER UNTIL SUNDAY 30 OCTOBER 2016

    THERE WAS A SPECIAL EVENING EVENT ON SATURDAY 29 OCTOBER 2016 WHICH INCLUDED A NEW PIECE FOR SOLO VOICE BY ARTIST SIÔN PARKINSON, FOOD AND DRINKS BY THE GIMLET BAR, ALONG WITH POETRY READINGS, FIRE AND SONG. 16.00 – 21.00

    *

    THE EVENTS WERE FREE AND NO TICKETS OR RESERVATIONS WERE REQUIRED

     

  • Artist Information

    David Murphy in Studio © Jonathan Turner

    David Murphy in Studio © Jonathan Turner

     

    David Murphy (b. 1983, Newcastle upon Tyne) studied at Newcastle College and the Glasgow School of Art and currently lives in London.  Recent exhibitions include: Groundwork, The New Art Centre, Salisbury (2015); Deep Deeper, Galleria Monica de Cardenas, Milan, Italy (2015); Keep it Real, Bayt Al Sin­nari Centre for Culture, Cairo, Egypt (2015); Certain Impacts, PEER, London (2014); and Zeichnung ohne Zeichnung, Christian Ehrentraut, Berlin (2013). He was artist in residence in Murano, Italy (2015); and at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2014). He is the current recipient of the Kenneth Armitage Foundation Fellowship, London (2015-17)

    He is represented by Galleria Monica de Cardenas, Milan/Zuoz.

    monicadecardenas.com/milano/artists/

    davidmurphystudio.co.uk