By Ben O'Connell
Lindisfarne Castle will reopen this spring after an 18-month period of conservation, with a new site-specific installation by internationally-acclaimed artist Anya Gallaccio.
The castle has been undergoing a £3million programme of repairs and conservation, with support from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Wolfson Foundation, the Path Trust and donations from supporters, to manage the effects of the sea, wind and rain that come from its sitting on top of a crag on Holy Island.
It will reopen, on Sunday, April 1, without the collection inside to allow the interior time to dry out and leaving the bare architecture of the castle on show.
This will provide the National Trust with a rare chance to invite an artist to take over the castle and offer visitors a new, immersive and compelling experience.
Anya said: “Lindisfarne is a very special place. It’s a place I have always been really intrigued by. It’s an amazing opportunity. How often do you get free rein of a castle? The opportunity to inhabit it briefly is not one to turn down.”
She plans to create a rural landscape of colour using a combination of dyed blankets, flowers and plants.
The colours and fauna will take their inspiration from Gertrude Jekyll’s walled garden in the castle’s grounds and the use of plants such as moss, alpine and Bonsai trees will propose life returning to the castle.
The Turner Prize-nominated artist will swaddle the house in blankets, suggesting both a house shut up and protected for winter and the transition it has been through during the conservation project.
Lindisfarne Castle’s general manager, Simon Lee, said: “Anya is an incredibly exciting artist and to see her work presented in the context of Lindisfarne Castle will be very special.
“We had a once-in-a-generation opportunity while the castle is empty to do something different here. We hope Anya’s work will not only inspire people from the local community and from much further afield to experience this special place in a new way, but also showcase the Northumberland coast as an inspiration for people across the world.”
The castle will reopen to the public on Sunday, April 1, and the installation will open on Saturday, May 5, and run until November.
For more information, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lindisfarne-castle