Steve Messam

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XXX at Mellerstain

XXX - three new pieces in the Sottish Borders

A series of temporary installations and architectural interventions in the gardens and grounds of Mellerstain House from 14th July to 11th September 2017. The three outdoor pieces explore their sense of space, presence and place - each one working with the environment to temporarily disrupt it and transform the way they are viewed and perceived. Each piece also seeks to uncover some of the many layers of narrative bound up in the house and gardens and the wider landscape.
The inaugural exhibition of the Borders Sculpture Park, the show also forms part of Architecture Fringe - the architectural festival taking part across Scotland throughout July.
more info...

mock-up of waterfall
              on a barn

'Waterfall' in Teesdale

In October 2016 three single-storey whitewashed field barns will be transformed into a largescale landscape work in Teesdale, County Durham, UK. Each of the traditional barns will be wrapped in slow-motion fottage of each of the major waterfalls of the nearby River Tees. 'Waterfall' is the inaugural exhibition in Durham County Council’s fresh approach to visual art programming. Art Moves is a new series of art exhibitions that takes art beyond the traditional confines of a gallery space and directly into the community. Building on the experience of organising successful art shows at Durham Art Gallery, Art Moves plans to introduce remarkable artworks into different locations around the County that draw on the rich history, geography and characteristics of County Durham.

PaperBridge2 in Suzhou, China

PaperBridge#2 in China

Following the success of PaperBridge in the Lake District, UK, a second bridge was commissioned by LandRover to celebrate 45 years of the Range Rover. This bridge, made from over 54,000 sheets of white paper made by James Cropper in Kendal, was built overlooking the lake in Suzhou, China. You can watch the story of the bridge in this short film.


More Underground Orchestra

The latest installment of the collaborative project with the Cobweb Orchestra took place on the 2nd August in the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum, Skinningrove. The concerts took place in three sites around the mine - in the Drift Mine 'Trio' was an interactive light installation where each of the instruments in the wind trio controlled a separate colour in a giant lamp box via radio microphones. The lamp constantly changed colour in response to the music being played - in this case 'Drift' by Andy Jackson. A more conventional ensemble performed a selection of new and old works by North East composers in the former ventilation shaft, while in the mine experience tunnel, a quartet performed a new work by Michael Betteridge by the light of head torches within a mono-spectral red light colour wash. More images can be found on the Underground Orchestra album on my Flickr site.

                film by Josh Coulthard

PaperBridge Documentary

The trials and tribulations of building a bridge out of 22,000 sheets of paper in the Lake District landscape have been captured by student film maker Josh Coulhard. The short was filmed over three weeks leading up to the launch of the bridge in early May. Josh and his crew followed the making of the 4 tonnes of red paper at James Cropper's paper mill to the building of test models in the studio as well as the entire build in the Grisedale Valley.
watch it in full here...

Bunker visual

Underground Orchestra

The next instalment of the collaboration with the Cobweb Orchestra will take place on the 16th May. For one night only, to coincide with Museums at Night, I will be transforming the York Cold War Bunker with a series of light installations and projections while musicians from the orchestra perform a specially composed new work. This event as very limited places. Please sign up to my email list to be notified when tickets become available.



I am pleased to announce that  PaperBridge will be my next landscape installation. a full-sized packhorse bridge made entirely of sheets of paper will cross a beck in the shadow of Helvelyn in the English Lake District. 'PaperBridge' is part of 'Lakes Ignite 2015' - a programme of new works in the Lake District during April and May 2015. "PaperBridge' opens to the public on the 9th May.
more details...

Recent Projects


En Paviljong som Lyssnar på Skogen

a Pavilion for Listening to the Forest. A site-specific tensile fabric structure suspended from the forest on Öland, Sweden. The Pavilion, inspired by the small buildings in Chinese gardens, reflects on the delicate balance between man and the forest.

from September 2013

more info...

Carpet ink bottles


an installation of 25,000 glass bottles of ink creating an Anglo-Saxon style carpet pattern in the ruins of Lindisfarne Priory. The piece recalls the importance of colour in 7th Century Britain and celebrates the visit of the original Lindisfarne Gospels to North East England which were created at the priory.

28th June - 9th July

more info...

red souvenir

Red Souvenir

a pair of forms made from pagoda umbrellas as part of the project [RED] campaign at Bicester Village

February 2013

more info...

Projects currently in development

view over

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

currently artist in residence with the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. You can follow the progress on my residency blog. The final piece is expected mid-March 2014




a large-scale tensile structure across a remote Pennine valley

2014 tbc



a temporary packhorse bridge made entirely from paper

date tbc



A temporary light installation recreating the path of the former viaduct over the river Belah on Stainmore. Once the highest viaduct in England, it is 150 years since the original iron viaduct was built and 50 years since the last train ran over it.

Winter  2013/ 2014 (tbc)

LandLines test


An 18-month project to map the constant changing agricultural landscape along the railway line in Northumbria. Temporary interventions on land beside the railway will describe the seasonal workings of the land and create an ever-changing gallery of work to be seen from passing trains. The project will culminate in a 6-week on-board menu sourced entirely from farms beside the railway, completing the journey from field to plate.

Estimated start - May 2014

Playscape model


What is the rural solution to concrete skateparks? The Playscape project is an exciting initiative that aims to build a large-scale, earthwork sculpture inspired by local geological features and natural mathematics that also offers potential for not just conventional play but also Parkour, performance, rock climbing and admiring the view. The Playscape project is a fusion between art and sport. One that takes a holistic approach to the provision of urban-rooted disciplines in a rural environment.

ongoing project


Steve Messam