Capturing Moments of Being...

Another exhibition which challenges audiences to look at the landscape in a different way is to be staged here at the Heaton Cooper Studio archive gallery. Moments of Being: Mountain, Cave, Coast, is an exhibition of walking-performance in rural landscapes created by Louise Ann Wilson.

The exhibition is about how, by using alternative viewpoints and perspectives, Louise’s work invites us to look at the landscape differently in order to transform the way we think about ‘missing’, marginal or challenging life-events. Familiar and much loved sites including mountains, caves and coast, become places where both personal and public issues can be addressed.

It is the preview event of the Kendal Mountain Festival and runs from November 7 – 27.

The expression ‘moments of being’ was used by Virginia Woolf to describe sudden revelatory shocks that are counterpoints to what she referred to as ‘non-being’ and have the effect of ‘puncturing the cotton wool of daily life that renders one blind to the particular and the common place.’

Louise is an artist, scenographer and researcher who creates site-specific walking-performances, films, installations and books that give-voice to significant life-events – with transformative and therapeutic outcomes. Her work has addressed terminal illness, bereavement, in/fertility and involuntary childlessness, the effects of aging and the impact of change.

She makes cross-disciplinary site-specific performances in rural locations that are evolved through an extended period of immersion in a chosen place and in close collaboration with artists from a broad range of creative disciplines. Her work explores ways in which the earth- and biological-sciences, art and performance can dramatise, articulate and reflect upon life-events.

Mountain, Cave, Coast draws on the body of work Louise has created over the last decade. This includes a recent project, Women’s Walks to Remember: ‘With Memory I was there’, in the Lake District, which re-traced significant walks of those who are no longer able to walk them. It is a companion piece to Dorothy’s Room, an installation originally created at Rydal Mount that is inspired by Dorothy Wordsworth’s experience of illness and old age and her longing to be outside walking.

Other projects have been staged in Cornwall, Snowdonia, the Trough of Bowland, the Ingleborough Fells, and Morecambe Bay.

Louise’s exhibition follows the display of photographs showing the damage done to the local landscape by the floods of Storm Desmond, and a challenging collection of paintings and photographs of the Lake District landscape, Unpicturesque.

It is being curated by Julian Cooper who said: “Louise Ann Wilson’s work is ambitious and exciting and I’m very much looking forward to seeing it here in Grasmere. It continues with the sequence of exhibitions we’ve held which look at the mountain landscape and our own dealings with it in serious and imaginative ways, and adds a valuable different voice to the Kendal Mountain Festival’s programme.”



Jack Scout 2010 was a walking performance specific to this heath at Silverdale overlooking the sands and tides of Morecambe Bay, Lancashire in which music, dance, voice and art combined to evoke its land, sands, skies and sea. Woven into these impressions was the story of the Matchless, a pleasure boat that was shipwrecked off the coast of Silverdale in 1895 with the loss of 34 lives. Audiences of 18 at a time were led by two guides through the heath, along the shore line and over the beach. The work was co-produced by Sap Dance and Louise Ann Wilson and was created with co-director and choreographer Nigel Stewart, dancer Natasha Fewings, and musicians and composers Steve Lewis and Matt Robison in dialogue with experts including ornithologists, fishermen, cross-bay guides, butterfly surveyors, conservationists, historians and local school children. The creative team used experimental cartography, writing, drawing, and musical and movement improvisation to record and reflect upon these dialogues; to register and distil their own experience of the place, and thereby evolve material that was transformed, and then montaged, into the live performance and film versions of the work. Photographer: Nicola Tarr