Out of Tune

Dolven’s installation features a sixteenth century tenor bell from Scraptoft Church in Leicestershire, which had been removed for not being in tune with the others. It is suspended from a steel cable strung between two 20m high steel beams, placed 30m apart.

The work of Norwegian artist A.K Dolven, highlights feelings of exile and being out of sync with your surroundings. For the Triennial in 2011 she created ‘Out of Tune’,  a sculpture that resurrects a sixteenth century church bell which had been left abandoned in a foundry for lacking the required purity of tone, in other words having the wrong sound. Dolven has given the bell a new life making its difference a virtue. It now stands alone in front of the sea and sky unhindered by a belfry or the restrictions of telling the time and marking ecclesiastical events. During the Triennial in 2011 visitors were invited to pull the rope and ring the bell, giving it a voice after years of silence. As is frequently the case with Dolven’s work the importance of participation is paramount.  The site Dolven has chosen for the bell is in line with the church of St Mary’s and St Eanswyth which is elevated above on the upper level of the town Centre. The artist was intrigued by the perfectly tuned church bells in the belfry holding a dialogue with the single ring of her un-tuned bell. Which has a mechanism that ensures the bell resonates and lingers before gently fading away.

This old bell was cast by Hugh Watts in the seventeenth century in Leicester. The Watts family were the leading bell founders in the city in the early 17th century. In all, they were responsible for almost two hundred castings for churches in the county. Furthermore, Hugh Watts was the Mayor of Leicester when King Charles 1st visited the city in 1634.

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