Artists move in on station art project

June 22 2022

Paul Fearnside from Lucas Antics puts some finishing touches on to the artwork. Picture: Charles Emerson

Paul Fearnside from Lucas Antics puts some finishing touches on to the artwork. Picture: Charles Emerson

THE first artwork has been installed at the old Mangotsfield station next to the Bristol and Bath Railway Path.

Artists Lucas Antics, aka Alex Lucas and Paul Fearnside, installed a mural at the site on June 15-16 to launch the one-year Mangotsfield Folly project, funded by Arts Council England and Emersons Green Town Council, working with transport charity Sustrans, which oversees the cycle route.

The installation follows a rough start for the project, which suffered damage to its wooden framework from vandals, soon after it was built in April.

But events have now started in earnest, with nature-focused sound recording, drawing and walking sessions held during the third week of June, and signposts put up to direct visitors to the site.

Project manager Suzanne Heath said: "The mural design at the Folly features the tiny, everyday creatures and wild plants including goldenrod, Timothy grass, buttercups and nettles that live along the Railway Path. But there’s a twist – the cockchafers, zebra spiders, slugs and snails are riding bikes, playing musical instruments and showing off their circus skills.

"Alex Lucas was inspired by the anthropomorphized 19th century illustrations of the French caricaturist Grandville featured in ‘Scenes de la vie privee et publique des animaux’ published in 1842.

"The artists are keen for children and families to visit the installation and see if they can spot and name all of the creatures and plants. 

"Lucas Antics are one of six artists commissioned for Mangotsfield, including poet and writer Holly Corfield Carr, printmaker Letterpress Collective, photographer Charles Emerson, The Straight & Narrow Sign Co and Feral Practice, an artist who creates installations and audio-visual works.

"Artist and researcher Fiona MacDonald (aka Feral Practice) has been back at Mangotsfield to continue her residency, speaking to local experts to learn more about the biodiversity of the site. "Fiona is making Listening Station, an audio drama inspired by the stories of local people: their arrivals, departures, meetings and partings – with human and other beings."

As well as the folly structure, Chippenham-based architects Artel 31 plan to install an outdoor table and bench at the old booking office foundations later in the year.

For more information visit www.mangotsfieldfolly.uk or follow the project on Instagram @mangotsfield_folly.