Posted on Format Gallery


It was a postcard of a painting made in 1868 by the romantic painter John Atkinson Grimshaw that prompted Dunhill and O’Brien’s initial interest in the Bowder Stone. More than the style of painting or the boulder itself however, it was the addition of a staircase leading to the top of the rock that caught their attention – turning an otherwise impressive natural phenomena into a poignant architectural form, here was a rock posing as both a pulpit and viewing platform. In one of the most ‘unspoilt’ areas of England (the famous Lake District) there is a stone that has been domesticated, and designated as a tourist destination.

For their solo show at the Gallery Fleur in Kyoto, they presented a sculpture comprising of seventy metres of cotton calico formed like a dressmaker’s toile directly on the top section of the Bowder Stone. This detailed and tailored prototype, somewhat over sized for the gallery space, was supported by an elaborate construction of wooden props and sand bags over a paper pattern.

Meanwhile the ‘Stone Appreciation Study Room’, made with the participation of Kyoto Seika University’s Fine Art students involved a collection of images and objects relating to the cultural status of stones, from the Blarney Stone in Ireland, to the Torpedo Rock of Australia, the Balanced Rock of Colorado to Kyoto’s own Ryoanji rocks, in this case as a woven image on a cushion cover.