Staff Research: Natalie Gale – Charter of The Forest

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Purpresture[1] is a multidisciplinary installation consisting of a wooden paneled enclosure exhibiting a series of panel paintings and sculptures, a video piece and vert[2]. The enclosure acts as museum displaying artworks that are physical manifestations of elements found in it’s accompanying poetic short story VERDER[3], specially written for the exhibition.  Red, Blue and Gold for instance, a series of panel paintings reference both the traditional medieval palette also colours featured in the tale itself.

VERDER, appropriates actual rules and regulations of The Charter of the Forest, local folklore to Lincoln and classical mythology, consequently Purpresture and the story swing from truth to fiction in an object or sentence without warning.  It is up to the viewer to decipher what is artifact or artifice, possibly with the aid of a free pamphlet featuring a copy of the story.

Additionally the installation holds a muselogical essence and that of a nineteenth-century palm court, once popular in European bourgeois homes. Objects such as eggs, the common man was permitted to take by The Charter are arranged in a display cabinet with complimentary greenery, ferns, found in Lincolnshire forests. A museum within a museum has been created, a space so clearly artificial that it calls into question the validity of the objects exhibited while adding to the tension between fiction and reality.
Turbary a video work involving an A6 hard backed book and a mouse. The short story was placed in a glass vitrine with a mouse where it gnawed through the text and cover re-inventing the book as its nest and re-uses the remnant papers to create bedding.  This work refers not only to the term Turbary, used in the original charter to describe the rights to grazing for animals owned by the common man but also to the second most asked question about the Magna Carter (from which the Charter of the Forest is a supplement): Why are there holes in the documents? The answer in one word is, mice.

[1] Purpresture – an unlicensed inclosure or building, especially a new house within the forest.
[2] Vert – habitat for deer; trees and underwoods and all vegetation in a forest.
[3] VERDER – A reference to ‘Verderer’ who is a man serving as an official in charge of the royal forests of medieval England.

One comment

  1. Good Day,

    I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know about a
    forthcoming project I am curating with Lincoln Art Programme in a
    weeks time, it will be held in some woodland near the city
    of Lincoln, which is only 1.5 hours from London on the train, 1 hour
    from Nottingham, and there is a free connecting bus outside the main
    contemporary art gallery, The Collection who commissioned the
    There is more information about the project available on our website – http://www.lincolnartprogramme.co.uk/
    I do hope you are able to make it, and please do send the information on to anyone
    you think may be interested.
    Best Wishes

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