Steve Messam

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Date: 2017

Client: Lake District National Park for Lakes Alive

Location: Castle Howe, Kendal, Cumbria. UK

Dimensions: 4.7m x 4.7m x 9.5m

Materials: ripstop nylon, electric fan

Further Info:

Keep, Castle Howe, Kendal. UK. September 2017


Castle Howe, Kendal, Cumbria. UK.

September 2017

‘Keep’ is a large-scale temporary art installation for Kendal. A 9-metre high bright red castellated tower sits on Castle Howe overlooking Kendal and the Kentdale Valley beyond. A gothic arched doorway leads into the tower to reveal a bouncy castle interior.

Within the context of Kendal, ‘Keep’ is a playful intervention in the rich history of the town and landscape. The bright red creating a very surreal and colourful presence in the ‘Old Grey Town’, it converses with the existing Kendal Castle on the other side of the river. The Red vs the White, as two rooks on a chess board of landscape.

A prologue installation will take place in the week leading up to Lakes Alive with ‘Keep’ temporarily installed on a well-used fell top in the National Park for a day (Latrigg or Wallah Crag for example). The scale and colour of the piece acting as a visual accent in the wider landscape, transforming the space and how it is viewed from the surrounding area.

Within the wider narrative of the Lake District National Park and UNESCO World Heritage bid, ‘Keep’ symbolises mans incessant desire to conquer the landscape and make his mark. For some ‘Keep’ is a strong visual accent in the landscape - much as imagined in the picturesque movement and the much older Chinese cultural tradition which itself is uncannily close to the English Picturesque and Romanticism for which the Lake District played a pivotal role. For others it’s something fun for the sake of fun for which the adventure of the lakeland fells is to many.