Southwark Cathedral’s 2018 Lent Installation – ‘Doubt’

Since 2012, Lent in Southwark Cathedral has been accompanied by art installations which aim to make visitors to the Cathedral think and reflect during this important time of the Church’s year

This year, internationally renowned artist Susie MacMurray will be displaying a new work Doubt from Ash Wednesday, 14 February until Good Friday, 30 March.  This new site specific installation is created in direct response to Southwark Cathedral and the lofty spaces within it.  Doubt fills the volume of air above the high altar sanctuary like a dark cloud.

Doubt was conceived through the connections of the weight of darkness and uncertainty suspended from above and stems from a conversation Susie had with a soldier who had served in Afghanistan at the time she was installing Cloud in The Great Hall in Winchester. The soldier spoke about the feeling of a dark weight hovering behind his neck all the time he was in the war zone, which made Susie think of 40 days and 40 nights.

Susie’s work encompasses drawing, sculpture and architectural installations.  A former classical musician, she retrained as an artist, graduating with an MA in Fine Art in 2001.  She now has an international exhibition profile, showing regularly in the USA and Europe as well as in the UK. She says “I’m very much looking forward to making new work in such a beautiful space filled with so much meaning.”

The Very Reverend Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark, says: “Clouds feature a great deal in scripture and in the Christian tradition.  Popular imagination might expect faith to be lived out in bright clear sunshine but from that moment when Moses climbed the holy mountain, shrouded in cloud, and experienced the presence of God, it has been a familiar experience and theme.  The Gospel writers described a similar event in the Transfiguration of Jesus and as Jesus died on the cross the clouds brought night into day and the onlookers were plunged into darkness.

The mediæval mystical tradition in this country did not shy away from the cloud which can exist in the world of faith.  In ‘The Cloud of Unknowing’, a 14th century book written anonymously, the writer says ‘Beat with a sharp dart of longing love upon this cloud of unknowing which is between you and your God.’ 

The cloud which Susie MacMurray is creating, and which will dominate the chancel and high altar sanctuary during Lent and Holy Week, draws us into this apophatic tradition. We recognise our doubts and sense the darkness but beat both ‘with a sharp dart of longing love.’”

For futher information about Susie please visit her website here