IMMURE, sculptural work at All Saints' Parish Church, Leamington Spa, 11-26 March 2017


Immure derives from medieval Latin immurare, from in- ‘in’ + murus ‘wall’. It was a term that came to my mind whilst visiting Berlin at the end of last year. I was fascinated by the fact how groups of innocent people were confined and divided against their will by the Wall from 1961 until 1989. Although this political barrier through Berlin mostly has disappeared you can still feel its legacy in the city and see how people are dealing with the aftermath. 


Back in England I thought about these barricades, seen or unseen, between people. To be enclosed within walls; behind barriers; to be shut in; secluded or confined; can be interpreted in many ways; geographically, psychologically, politically, religiously, physically,  biologically, scientifically, philosophically, culturally and so on. One can be forced by others into being fenced off, or unconsciously or consciously put oneself in such environments. Think for example about the saying ‘to put a wall up’. “Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.” (Socrates)


Or alternatively, different ideological ideas can set people apart but on another level groups of human cells in a body are kept apart by their own biological cell walls. It’s quite a black and white view of the world, where everything is compartmentalized. Universally speaking every object or living thing is contained within something. You can look for barriers with a telescope, binoculars or a microscope.


It was shocking news to find out about the attack on the Christmas market in Berlin in December 2016. To think that only a few weeks ago I was walking there myself. Some political and religious barriers are still unyielding..


My ephemeral sculptures try to visualize blockades and barriers in all kind of ways. They are made of sewn together crumbled pieces of baking parchment. The brown color refers to skin color and to the human aspects of boundaries. The paper pieces appear to be solid but this is deceptive, the material is lightweight and light can be seen coming through it. Some of the sculptures are transparent. The parchment has an inbuilt sculptural essence and is able to create volume because of its waxiness. The loose hanging threads could refer to networks, links between the things that are being kept apart from each other. On can perhaps see the influence of the artist Eva Hesse in my practice, especially in the use of materials and the repetitiveness nature of the work. The Arte Povera movement also inspires me because of the artists' use of non-preciousness materials. The paper sculptures are loosely held up by fence poles which are set in blocks of cement which creates a sense of architecture. The 8 pieces are mobile, being presented on wooden platforms with castor wheels. All works are for sale.


The central location of All Saints’ Parish Church was first of all chosen because of its monumental space and will be one of the biggest buildings where I ever have had an exhibition - a challenge in itself. But it is also a place where social and religious boundaries between people are lifted. Furthermore, it was the last building in Leamington Spa that I visited with my mum before she passed away.


This poem was composed by my friend, writer and poet Steve Herrick-Black who was  inspired by the Immure sculptures.


Knock Once And Enter


I built my walls to entice you in

but you did not come. You did not come.

Instead you stripped forest and ransacked

quarry as if gone hot to war.


And dug your foundations colder in.


I built my walls to entice you in

and allured them with abatis and

breastwork; kissed them with coy rebuttals

and off the shoulder defences to hint

at the besiegable mysteries within.


But you abutted redoubts and

palisades to the turned flanks of your skin

and clawed the no-man’s treeline between

with embankments and barricades and

as heart heavy as I could see, you did not venture in.


I built my walls to entice you in

and lit braziers and fired oil

to prove my hearth warm and with no sting.

But you put out your lights, drew up your bridge,

snarled your ramparts with catapult and javelin


and signaled this was a war I would never win.


And now your nevers have become years

and we glower here still, encrypted within.

Why, why did you make your walls so unbreakable

when I only built mine to entice you in?