NATIONAL Glass Centre in Sunderland has announced details of four new commissions by contemporary artists which will be publicly displayed at sites across the North East, including in Durham Cathedral.

Monster Chetwynd, Ryan Gander, Katie Paterson and Pascale Marthine Tayou have each been invited by a panel of artists and curators, convened by National Glass Centre, to create a major new glass work as part of Glass Exchange, which runs from 26 March until 11 September 2022.

Glass Exchange celebrates Sunderland’s status as a world-leading centre for artistic practice in glass and draws on Wearside’s strong links with glass-making and British ecclesiastical history. The new artistic commissions – which have been developed by the four selected artists in collaboration with some of the most highly skilled glass makers in the UK, based at National Glass Centre – respond to this history and will be temporarily installed at sites in and around the cities of Sunderland and Durham, including a vacant shop in Sunderland city centre, Durham Cathedral, and National Glass Centre.

  • Monster Chetwynd’s installation The Life of St. Bede will involve the creation of four imaginative dioramas capturing key scenes from the lives of local saints St Bede and St Cuthbert. Chetwynd’s commission will be on display in the Galilee Chapel at Durham Cathedral from 26th March until 11 September 2022.
  • Ryan Gander’s large-scale commission, sited in a vacant shop front in Sunderland city centre, is a life-sized comment on the decline of the British high street. Ghost Shop will depict an abandoned betting shop with all fixtures and fittings made in clear glass, including details such as an upturned bin spilling out discarded betting slips, and a pile of unopened post.
  • Katie Paterson will deliver two inter-related projects which tell the story of earthly existence: a series of hand-blown hourglasses containing material from before the Sun existed; and a glass urn filled with a dust that spans billions of years including the evolution of humankind over the last few millennia. Requiem will be exhibited at Ingleby Gallery in Edinburgh from 9th April until 11th June before being shown at National Glass Centre from 18th June until 11thSeptember 2022. A timepiece, from the series The Moment will be displayed at Durham Cathedral and National Glass Centre. Additional venues are to be confirmed in due course.
  • Pascale Marthine Tayou presents Colonial Ghost, which invites the viewer to consider connections between colonisation and the growth of Christianity in African countries. The artwork consists of Christian crosses, each made using five human figures. Following its recent display at Sunderland Minster, Colonial Ghost will be shown running the full length of National Glass Centre’s Balcony Gallery from 26th March until 11th September.

Julia Stephenson, Head of Arts at National Glass Centre, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with such high-calibre contemporary artists on Glass Exchange and we’re delighted to be working with such well-respected and high-profile venues.

“This is an exciting, ambitious exhibition and one which is already attracting national and international attention.

“We’re proud the artists are working with our own specialist teams at National Glass Centre to realise their ideas. The exchange of skills and knowledge between Pascale Marthine Tayou, Katie Paterson, Monster Chetwynd and Ryan Gander and some of the most highly-skilled glass artists in the country has been absolutely fascinating.

“Glass Exchange is a major celebration of Sunderland’s role as a world-leading centre for artistic practice in glass and it is important to us that the project will have a lasting legacy in the city – some of the artwork created will be acquired into the National Glass Centre’s collection.”

Glass Exchange is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence Fund, with additional funding from Art Fund, Henry Moore Foundation and the Coastal Communities Fund, and with thanks to the University of Sunderland and Durham Cathedral.

For further details of all of the artists’ commissions, please visit: