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University of Cambridge

Open: Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–5pm

We are closed on Bank Holiday Mondays

Please note the house will be temporarily closed for 4 weeks from 14 March 2024

Book Tickets

Open: Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–5pm

We are closed on Bank Holiday Mondays

Please note the house will be temporarily closed for 4 weeks from 14 March 2024

Exhibition

The Long Dark

17 July– 19 September 2010

The Long Dark brought together sculpture, painting, photography and etchings by nine contemporary artists. Taking as its starting point John Ruskin’s essay “The Nature of Gothic”, published in 1853, the exhibition considered medieval revivalism in contemporary art.

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Ruskin championed the social, ethical and aesthetic values of the Gothic style and argued against modern, mechanical means of production. His ideas found resonance with the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain and the Bauhaus in Germany.

From Alexandra Bircken’s woven screens to Maria Loboda’s ‘poisonous’ wall drawing, the artists employed a variety of techniques and materials that combined industrial processes with traditional crafts. Carnivalesque colours and pattern revealed a rich mixture of medieval and modern references. Allusions to church architecture and stained glass could be found in sculpture by Kalin Lindena and paintings by Bernd Ribbeck. Heraldry, harlequins and abstract motifs were evoked in the work of Simon Bill, Nicholas Byrne and Peter Linde Busk. Elsewhere, Maria Loboda, Raphael Danke, Eva Berendes and Alexandra Bircken variously drew influence from occultism, folk art and handcraft, Bauhaus design, Surrealism and New Age aesthetics.

Curated by Michelle Cotton, an independent curator and writer based in London. The exhibition was an expanded version of an exhibition originally commissioned by International 3 and then shown at the Hatton Gallery in late 2009. It included new work by many of the artists, including site-specific works by Kalin Lindena and Maria Loboda.