FEATURE: THE LINDISFARNE GOSPELS | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Mock image of digital installation for The Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition, courtesy of Novak

The Lindisfarne Gospels are the most spectacular manuscript to survive from Anglo-Saxon England and will go on display at Laing Art Gallery in September. Created on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, and on loan from the British Library, the book represents the golden age of design and craftsmanship in Northumbria. Video design specialists, NOVAK, have created an animated audio video installation that will immerse audiences within the stunning design of the manuscript and the environments that shaped the book’s creation.

The Lindisfarne Gospels are presumed to be the work of a monk named Eadfrith, who became Bishop of Lindisfarne monastery in 698 and produced the Gospels around 715 believed to be in honour of St. Cuthbert. By 1066 the Gospels had found their way to Durham Cathedral before being removed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and eventually ending up in the British Museum then the British Library in 1973.

NOVAK’s immersive digital experience will be the first gallery that visitors will encounter and will establish the wider context for the Gospels around its meaning in the world today and its relationship with themes of personal, regional and national identity. The installation aims to provide audiences with an experiential journey that transports them from the birthplace of the Gospels to the farthest shores of the Mediterranean.

NOVAK’s immersive digital experience will establish the wider context for the Gospels around its meaning in the world today and its relationship with themes of personal, regional and national identity

Adam Finlay, Studio Director at NOVAK is thrilled to be involved in such an inspiring display. “The manuscript is such an amazing example of devotion, design and craftsmanship, which embodies the very rich and expansive history of the North East of England but with connections far beyond the region. It is a great privilege to explore and interpret this fascinating story in a new and exciting way.”

The exhibition will also include a stunning selection of early medieval treasures brought together from across Britain, representing both personal and collective religious experiences in the 8th Century. A selection of paintings, drawings and photographs will further explore how art and spirituality have developed in the centuries since the Lindisfarne Gospels were created.

A highlight of the exhibition will be a new work by Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller, while a series of talks by the likes of Geoff Miller (Dean of Newcastle), NOVAK’s Adam Finlay, local historian John Woodhurst, artist Ruth Ewan and the British Library’s head of medieval manuscripts Dr Claire Breay amongst others will take place at the venue throughout the Autumn and will cover everything from the Gospels’ spiritual significance, the early history of the monastery and some behind the scenes detail about how the Gospels are displayed and curated from the Laing staff themselves.

Elsewhere in the region a series of other events in association with the Laing display include In The Footsteps of Eadfrith at Art Block in Seaham, A Northumberland Menagerie by artist Bethan Maddocks at Hexham Old Gaol, artist Paul Rooney’s contemporary soundscape installation at Lindisfarne Castle and The Art of Words at St Mary’s Church on Holy Island with many more events throughout the region.

The Lindisfarne Gospels will be on show at Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle from Saturday 17th September-Saturday 3rd December.

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