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A photograph printed on fabric of a classical statue wrapped in plastic hangs amongst trees in a woodland.

Simon Roberts - Waldeinsamkeit

Photos on fabric, courtesy the artist & Victoria and Albert Museum

A photograph printed on fabric of a classical statue wrapped in plastic hangs amongst trees in a woodland

Simon Roberts - Waldeinsamkeit

Photos on fabric, courtesy the artist and Victoria & Albert Museum. Photo Stefan Handy.

A photograph printed on fabric of a classical statue wrapped in plastic hangs amongst trees in a woodland.

Simon Roberts - Waldeinsamkeit

Photos on fabric, courtesy the artist & Victoria and Albert Museum

A classical marble state shrouded in clear plastic, against a dark background.

Simon Roberts - Shrouded Statues. Courtesy Simon Roberts & Victoria and Albert Museum, 2020.

Shrouded Statue #1 (Theseus and the Minotaur by Antonio Canova), 2021

A classical marble state shrouded in clear plastic, against a dark background.

Simon Roberts - Shrouded Statues. Courtesy Simon Roberts & Victoria and Albert Museum, 2020.

Shrouded Statue #2 (Eve listening to the voice by Edward Hodges Bailey), 2021

A classical marble state shrouded in clear plastic, against a dark background.

Simon Roberts - Shrouded Statues. Courtesy Simon Roberts & Victoria and Albert Museum, 2020.

Shrouded Statue #3 (Cupid kindling the torch of Hymen by George Rennie), 2021

A classical marble state shrouded in clear plastic, against a dark background.

Simon Roberts - Shrouded Statues. Courtesy Simon Roberts & Victoria and Albert Museum, 2020.

Shrouded Statue #4 (The Crouching Venus by John Most the Elder), 2021

A classical marble state shrouded in clear plastic, against a dark background.

Simon Roberts - Shrouded Statues. Courtesy Simon Roberts & Victoria and Albert Museum, 2020.

Shrouded Statue #5 (Vulcan chained to a rock by Claude David), 2021

A classical marble state shrouded in clear plastic, against a dark background.

Simon Roberts - Shrouded Statues. Courtesy Simon Roberts & Victoria and Albert Museum, 2020.

Shrouded Statue #8 (Monument to Lady Winchilsea by Lawrence MacDonald), 2021

A photograph printed on fabric of a classical statue wrapped in plastic hangs amongst trees in a woodland.A photograph printed on fabric of a classical statue wrapped in plastic hangs amongst trees in a woodlandA photograph printed on fabric of a classical statue wrapped in plastic hangs amongst trees in a woodland.A classical marble state shrouded in clear plastic, against a dark background.A classical marble state shrouded in clear plastic, against a dark background.A classical marble state shrouded in clear plastic, against a dark background.A classical marble state shrouded in clear plastic, against a dark background.A classical marble state shrouded in clear plastic, against a dark background.A classical marble state shrouded in clear plastic, against a dark background.

Waldeinsamkeit

Photos on fabric

Courtesy Simon Roberts & Victoria and Albert Museum, 2020

Each inhabiting their own space in the deep woods above Fishpool Valley, a series of shrouded statues are revealed, almost as apparitions. Elegant and melancholic, the statues seem absorbed in timeless contemplation, trapped in their own mineral universe. Evoking the tradition of using sculptures in landscape design, the marble figures represent mythological and allegorical subjects.

The images, printed on special fabric, are photographs taken by Simon Roberts in 2020 during the second Covid-19 lockdown whilst the Victoria and Albert Museum was closed to the public. Although the statues were covered for their protection during refurbishment, Roberts uses them as a metaphor for our wider experience of the pandemic. Wrapped in a plastic membrane, their features and expressions are partially obscured, and they seem to push against their coverings. The tension caused by the juxtaposition between the neo-classical forms and 21st century plastic and gaffer tape renders them somehow more vulnerable. Tethered between trees, the static figures become almost life-like as they respond to gentle gusts of wind and the change of light during the day. ‘Waldeinsamkeit’ is an untranslatable German term, which evokes the enlightening, sublime feeling that can come from being alone in the woods.

The original photographs in the Shrouded Statue series  can be viewed in the slideshow above, as well as images of Waldeinsamkeit as seen in Fishpool Valley. Click on the squares under the top image (on the right) and you can open a gallery of the images and click on each of the titles below to find out more about each statue on the Victoria & Albert website.

Shrouded Statue #1 (Theseus and the Minotaur by Antonio Canova), 2021

Shrouded Statue #2 (Eve listening to the voice by Edward Hodges Bailey), 2021

Shrouded Statue #3 (Cupid kindling the torch of Hymen by George Rennie), 2021

4

Shrouded Statue #4 (The Crouching Venus by John Most the Elder), 2021

 https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O1247475/the-crouching-venus-the-crouching-venus-john-nost-the/

5

Shrouded Statue #5 (Vulcan chained to a rock by Claude David), 2021

https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O67427/vulcan-or-possibly-prometheus-chained-figure-david-claude/

8

Shrouded Statue #8 (Monument to Lady Winchilsea by Lawrence MacDonald), 2021

https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O66332/monument-to-emily-georgiana-lady-monument-macdonald-lawrence/

Simon Roberts

Simon Roberts (b.1974) is an acclaimed British contemporary artist based in Brighton. His practice is principally photography based, but also encompasses video, text and installation work, which together, interrogate our notions of what landscape is and how it is depicted, utilised, commodified and interpreted.  Landscape, for Roberts, is a contested, ambiguous space, shaped not only by material and environmental factors but by fantasy and politics, economics and history. 

He has exhibited widely and his photographs reside in major public and private collections, including the George Eastman House, Deutsche Börse Art Collection and Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2010 he was commissioned as the official British Election Artist by the House of Commons Works of Art Committee to produce a record of the General Election on behalf of the UK Parliamentary Art Collection and in 2014 he represented Britain during the UK-Russia Year of Culture. He has been commissioned to make several large-scale public artworks and recognised with numerous awards including an Honorary Fellowship to the Royal Photographic Society, the Vic Odden Award and grants from Arts Council England and the John Kobal Foundation.

He is the author of several monographs including Motherland (Chris Boot, 2007), We English (Chris Boot, 2009), Pierdom (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2013) and Merrie Albion - Landscape Studies of a Small Island (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2017), whilst his work has been profiled and published widely.

www.simoncroberts.com