RETRACING FOOTSTEPS The Changing Landscape of Yr Wyddfa / Snowdon at New Art Spaces: Chester

Posted on 7 November 2023

Retracing Footsteps will open on Thursday 9 November, 4:30pm.
Book your free tickets here

Venue: CASC Gallery in Castlefield Gallery New Art Spaces: Chester, Unit 14 Grosvenor Shopping Centre Chester CH1 1EA

This exhibition is based on an interdisciplinary research project at the University of Chester which emerged through the collaboration of Dr Cian Quayle (Department of Art and Design) and Dr Daniel Bos (Department of the Geography and the Environment), and two BA Photography graduates Jane Evans and Emma Petruzzelli. The exhibition features photographs, text and moving image based on a series of field visit ascents of Yr Wyddfa / Snowdon made during the summer of 2023.

The premise for the project arose from Bos’s initial, and ongoing study, of 19th century, summit hut visitor books, in which the Victorian tourists of the day, recorded their experiences upon reaching the top of the mountain. A selection of these visitor books are held in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, and Bangor University Archives and Special Collections, from which the text extracts are drawn, and exhibited alongside photographs, maps, and other documents. Quayle is also researching Turner’s paintings and drawings made on site from his Welsh Tour (1799 – 1901), which are held in the Prints and Drawings Room and Archives at Tate Britain.

This exhibition is the first iteration of a long-term research project led by Bos and Quayle. It represents a testing out of approaches to photographing and recording the experience of ascending the mountain, and encountering other visitors (which total near to 600,000 annually). As it progresses, the project will explore the impact of tourism and its sustainability, environmental degradation and the ecological stability of the mountain and the surrounding area. It also considers the importance of Yr Wyddfa as a seat of Welsh cultural and national identity, its history, mythology, folklore, and the Sublime. In documenting the past in the present, the project sets out to embody and reimagine the experience of the landscape, as it is encountered today.

CASC (Contemporary Art Space Chester) in Castlefield Gallery New Art Spaces: Chester is a city centre initiative led by the Castlefield Gallery, whose collaboration with the Department of Art and Design has led to the Department’s development of a workshop and exhibition space adjacent to the Castlefield Gallery’s own project space. Both have adapted former high street retail units, which have been reconfigured as gallery spaces. This project is supported by Research and Knowledge Exchange Institute, Culture and Society, Breaking Boundaries funding from the University of Chester.

The exhibition continues until 9 December 2023.