Kirkstall Public Art Competition

Proposal - Long-listed 2016

The Peculiarity of Place

The last remaining Cistercian monk of Kirkstall Abbey has been sighted living in a peculiar monastic cell at the traffic lights outside the leisure centre.

The cell, a strange mix of forms and materials, gives an insight into the subconscious mind of its occupant.

The base of the structure, pointed arches formed from rough stone, takes the form of the beloved Abbey,
the building that housed him for many years. Insulating the top section of the cell is sheep’s wool, an expression of the occupant’s skill at catching and shearing his flock.

The nature of the interior, much like the life of the monk, is of a modest and clandestine nature. We can only guess at what takes place inside, with the exception of a fire or stone, betrayed by the chimney, rising
through the warm and fluffy wool and penetrating the hermetic environment, reaching towards the sky.

And so we observe an austere life lived at the leisure centre junction.

If you’re lucky you may spot brother monk farming the little land that he has at his disposal, or praying alone on the steps of his solitary sanctuary. And on a Tuesday, after meditation he can be seen inspecting the grain silo, or carving his thoughts and experiences onto its shell as a single act of outward expression.