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Spectacular art installation Coalescence, comes to the Painted Hall


Tue 31 Oct 23

Coalescence, a thought-provoking art installation from internationally acclaimed designer Paul Cocksedge, is coming to the magnificent Painted Hall this December. The six-metre diameter artwork is made from over 2,500 pieces of coal with a combined weight of over half a tonne – the amount of coal consumed by a single 200W light bulb in a year. Coalescence was developed by Paul Cocksedge to question our relationship with, and dependence on, fossil fuels.

The large-scale sculpture will be suspended in the Painted Hall and illuminated to create a captivating sparkle and shadow play that draws on the lustrous quality of the anthracite, a form of high-carbon coal. Coalescence will be displayed against the grand backdrop of 40,000 square foot of painted walls and ceilings in the Painted Hall, which is the first London venue to host the work.

Also displayed will be a never-before-seen, brand new artwork in the adjoining Nelson Room. 20 Trees blends maths with environmental awareness. Using anthracite blocks, the sculpture subtly conveys a message about ecological balance: if burned, it would take 20 trees an entire year to offset the carbon emissions produced.

Each work stands as a reminder of the critical balance between human actions and environmental stability, encouraging us to contemplate our relationship with the natural world.

Paul Cocksedge, co-founder of Paul Cocksedge Studio, says, “The grandeur of the Painted Hall, with the impressive space it offers, is a perfect frame for this piece. We believe the historic setting speaks to the artwork’s own implicit links with time and British heritage. We are excited to see how the sculpture emphasises and complements the beauty of the awe-inspiring setting.”

Matthew Mees, Chief Executive of the Old Royal Naval College, says, “As the centrepiece of Maritime Greenwich, the Old Royal Naval College is a place of wonder and awe that we want to share with people and inspire through art and stories. We are delighted that Paul Cocksedge chose the Painted Hall for the London debut of this remarkable artwork. The setting of this new installation invites our visitors to reflect on the environment, energy, power, time and history.”

Alongside the installation will be a specially curated programme of events for all, including a Father Christmas storytelling session inspired by the artwork, as well as a sparkling evening dining experience in the Painted Hall.

Coalescence follows successful collaborations between the Old Royal Naval College and contemporary artists such as Luke Jerram, and his artworks Gaia and the Museum of the Moon. Coalescence will be on display at the Old Royal Naval College from December 9, 2023 to February 4, 2024.