Going Public Art Exhibition in Sheffield

Third Space visited this exhibition which was shown at a number of venues throughout Sheffield which included the Cathedral. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed in the exhibition and therefore we cannot include any photographs within this narrative.
We can be caught up in our daily activities when may be something catches our attention or someone says something in a conversation which lifts us from the ordinary to theextraordinary. Sometimes as we look at art it can inspire a moment of wonder, reflection, prayer, or revelation. To quote John Updike “what art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit”

Public funding for arts events was significantly reduced as a result of austerity measures and the city started negotiations with private art collectors who potentially would be willing to support a public display of some of the artworks they owned on a philanthropic basis.
Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo collects works that talk about social and political events which are relevant to contemporary life. These artworks have been placed in dialogue with the sacred space of the Cathedral. Seeing them within this context encourages to draw out new meanings and reflects upon the space of the Cathedral.


.Plus Ultra (2009) by Goshka Macuda. This tapestry is relevant to the images we are seeing on a almost nightly basis of sinking boats and human anguish. It includes portraits of smiling leaders of the G20 summit, with a boat filled with migrants in the water beneath them. It alludes to social and economic inequality in a globalised society. Although geographic boundaries have opened up, such opportunities still remain inaccessible to most people. How would Angela Merkel view this tapestry? Plus Ultra takes its title from the motto of King Charles V of Spain which means “going beyond and overcoming limits.” It later inspired the symbol of the American dollar.
Still (2010) by Pae White. Pae White has created a beautiful evocation of smoke and ash which asks us to consider the ephemeral and temporary nature of life whilst reflecting on the possibility of transition. There is a spiritual dimension when this piece is considered within the environs of the Cathedral:
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
John 3:8 (NIV)


 .The Millennium Gallery is housing some of the pieces from Nicolas Catterlain’s collection of minimal and conceptual art. Some people find minimalist art austere and struggle to relate to the concepts, and yet often the pieces have a scale which relates well to the human form. Often we are invited to walk around, in and through the pieces thereby establishing a relationship with the viewer i.e. there is a recognition within the artwork that the person viewing the artwork is integral to the conceptual ideas which formed the basis for the creation of the work. To quote Aristotle “the aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
Wielandstr.18.12159 Berlin(2011) by Do Hu Suh. Do Hu Suh lives between New York, London and Seoul. This installation is a life-size representation of an apartment in Berlin which Suh used as a temporary home. The replica of the building appears ephemeral and insubstantial and raises questions about whether we can ever truly inhabit a place. Could it be that the artist is asking what constitutes true belonging?
Meeting You Halfway by Anthony McCall. Dialogue and cooperation appear to be intrinsic qualities of this installation. We are continually seeking ways to strengthen our connections: to God, our family, our colleagues and within the Third Space community.
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Gal 6:10 (NIV)

Dominique and Sylvain Levy have collected works which originated from the Cantonese art scene. Sometimes work produced by Chinese artists can be difficult to penetrate and understand because of cultural differences. The ideas central to the work of the Cantonese artists are openness, the nomadic and a belief in sharing. These artists are interested in finding new ways of thinking about and reflecting on the rapidly changing world.
My Teacher (1993) by Zheng Guogu. This image in the SIA Gallery is intriguing and the explanation from the guide is illuminating . “This work shows Zheng on the streets of his home town squatting next to a man locally regarded as the city eccentric. The artist is a trendsetter and central figure of the Chinese art scene. In this work has not only chosen a retreat into the local environment, but he has also put himself into a marginal position. By following his teacher, the unintentional fool, he occupies a space in society which is free from structures of power and meaning. This provides him with a new potential for action and interaction with society.”
“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”
Deuteronomy 10:18 (NIV)

We shared bread and wine in a chapel at the Cathedral:
.Holy God
connect us with the heartbeat of your music,
touch us with the silence of your presence.
Call us out from where we are comfortable
to find you
in the tensions and the questions.
We gather as one body to celebrate God’s presence among us united in Christ’s
spirit, broken and whole all at once;
Nourished and hungry, loved and loving,
sinner and forgiven; we make one circle of knowing,
believing, rejoicing, being,
as God lights and rests among us.

Stirrup Sunday (3 weeks late!)


Steve led us this morning on a prepared theme that was shelved due to folk being away and then alternative meetings in the last few weeks. Well, we are ‘alternative’ – so maybe this just underscores that in that we are doing it out of kilter with the Anglican church!

Our time began with the collect first in Latin (!) then in translation:

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(1549 Book of Common Prayer)

Not an easy prayer for good Protestants – reward for works?? Then there’s the tradition of stirring up the Christmas pudding… But Steve’s theme was taken from Luke whose central theme is that Jesus is the “overturner, the stirrer, the exciter.”

We were given different readings to walk with  – no slow walking today – it was chilly- so it was fast walking and reading around the park as we each contemplated this topic. Some had the words of the Magnificat, some the introduction to John the Baptist’s ministry, others Jesus’ reading of Isaiah in the synagogue…

Each is about an up-turning of the status quo – of the topsy-turvy kingdom of God that we are all called to be part of – a revolution we can be part of, which all began with the coming of Christ.

With some degree of hilarity we walked around the bandstand armed with stirring implements and stirred our prayers for those upside down values to prevail on earth and in us as in heaven – remembering the needs of the world and those known to us.

We shared bread and wine to words written for the occasion:

desolate dough and fallow fruit


Yahweh giver of life, breathe in us.

Stir us, trouble us, do not leave us alone.

Upturn our selfish ways.


Excite us with the story of the pregnant Mary – third trimester – still waiting. And Elizabeth now in her labour. The wise men – setting out now – in hope, following the celestial decrees. The census, being decreed – money and power grinding on.


The dough is dead unless the leaven is present, active, changing, transforming. Secretly at work – hidden inspirer. Upturning the given. Troubling the lumpen. And when its work is done, it dies.

The bread that is Jesus is alive and active and so we eat to mark what is past, to engage with what is present and to look forward to what will be.

Jesus given for us!


The fruit remains unfecund unless the all encircling airborne yeast touches and indwells. It bubbles and broils, giving joy to the liquid, unsettling the lifeless. And when its work is done, it dies.

The wine that is Jesus is alive and active and so we drink to mark what is past, to engage with what is present and to look forward to what will be.

Jesus given for us!


And so we pray:

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thanks Steve – this left me wanting to write my own litany (?) of all the things to be reversed – maybe next week I’ll share what I come up with. Any help / additional ideas gratefully received!