Gothic art installation a ‘love letter to England’

Gothic art installation a ‘love letter to England’


Northampton band Bauhaus produced four studio albums before splitting up in 1983

The artist behind a new gothic audio-visual art installation said it was a “love letter to England”.

Gothic Revival was commission by NN Contemporary Art in Northampton and combines the town’s architecture and music from local heroes Bauhaus.

It is at the art gallery’s temporary home at the Vulcan Works, while renovation continues at its usual base on Guildhall Road.

Artist David Panos said it looked at “what is it about a English town that pushes people towards this kind of gothic language?”.

David PanosDavid Panos

David Panos, who is based in London, said he was excited to come and work in Northampton

The film use digitally manipulated footage with film, sound recordings and fragments of video collected in Northampton

It combines buildings such as the town’s Guildhall and All Saints Church with music from a choir and a local band Raven Rust.

They play songs by Northampton band Bauhaus, who were considered pioneers of the gothic rock genre and whose biggest singles included Bela Lugosi’s Dead, She’s In Parties and a cover of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, which reached the Top 20 in 1982.

Mr Panos told BBC Radio Northampton he was interested in “how we find ourselves in the past” with gothic architecture in the Victorian era, and then gothic music in the latter 20th Century.

“I was a goth way back when, and Bauhaus was the first thing I knew when I came to Northampton, so that provided a framework for me,” he said.

Candle being litCandle being lit

The film combines gothic imagery and music from Northampton

“A friend described [the film] as a love letter to England, and it is,” Mr Panos added.

The Jarman Award-winning artist said he was “really interested in what’s going on in the rest of the country, things are quite London-centric in the art world”.

“It’s not necessarily the fashionable choice [to come to Northampton] and that’s what attracted me to it,” he said.

He said Northampton’s Guildhall was “a classic example in the gothic revival [architectural] style”.


Northampton’s gothic Guildhall features in the art installation

Gothic Revival is the final instalment in NN Contemporary Art’s Sensing Place series, which has been running ahead of the opening of the £4.7m renovation of their gallery on 24 Guildhall Road.

Due to open next year, it will feature free galleries and various event spaces covering five floors.

Mr Panos said the plans were “really impressive [and] really exciting”.

Gothic Revival runs at Northampton Vulcan Works until 20 January.

Bass playerBass player

Raven Rust performed the Bauhaus songs for the film

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