A NORTH Yorkshire World Heritage Site has been covered in colourful contemporary art as part of a new installation by a County Durham artist.

The temporary installation is in place in the historic Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal water garden in North Yorkshire and is aimed to offer visitors a “unique and extraordinary” experience on the National Trust site.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Set to open tomorrow, July 10, the exhibit, created by County Durham artist Steve Messam and called These Passing Things, contains three separate art pieces such as “Drifted”- 12 floating pyramids in the canal inspired by a lost pyramid folly.

The second installation, “Bridged”, is a scarlet-coloured contemporary bridge sitting across the river Skell close to the site of a lost iron bridge from 18 century.

“Spiked”, is the final installation and is presented as an inflatable art piece that seems to burst through the columns of the Temple of Piety.

Steve Messam’s work is inspired by the design of the 16-metre-high funerary pyramid in the water garden which was recorded to be commissioned by William Aislable in the 18 century, however, despite designs, drawings and casts there was no further mention of the pyramid or record of it ever being built.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

The original designers of Studley Royal garden, the Aislabie family, created many follies to surprise their guests and since 2015, The National Trust at the abbey have been celebrating the structures through its former “Folly!” exhibition series.

Artist Steve Messam said: “I guess the overall thing is identifying with the whole concept of follies - architectural oddities of no specific function other than their visual aesthetic.

“While over time we may invest them with meaning or stories, at their core they’re just there - large-scale artworks in the landscape, and as an artist that’s what I’ve been interested in for the past 20 years.

“I’m also interested in the role that follies play in creating focal points in constructed views of the landscape.”

Justin Scully, general manager at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, said: “Studley Royal water garden is a designed landscape; a living work of art.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

“By working with artists, responding to this legacy, we’re helping to bring the water garden to life for our visitors today.

We hope that These Passing Things will get our visitors thinking and start a conversation about the connection between the past and the present, whilst offering people a relevant, fresh experience of the Georgian garden.

These colourful and distinctive installations bring to life the spirit of the garden as the original designers intended. And, as their name suggestions, they are temporary installations, and will disappear from the landscape, just as many original follies did.”