Clipping the Church – Czech artist Tereza Buskova revitalises an ancient English tradition
Clipping the Church
St Barnabas’ Church, High Street, Erdington, Birmingham B23 6SY
3-5.30pm, Saturday 11 June 2016
This summer, Czech artist Tereza Buskova will adorn a Birmingham church with ornate baked bread and encircle it with a living garland of people. In her vibrant new public work, Buskova revives an almost-extinct English tradition called Clipping the Church and, consistent with her artistic style, brings to the surface some of the deeper (possibly pagan) customs from which this tradition probably originates.
Clipping the Church traditionally took place once a year when young apprentices and women in service were allowed to travel home to visit their families and their ‘mother’ church. During the ceremony, the reunited families and local faithful would link hands to form an unbroken chain around the entire church. Facing out towards the world, members of this living circle would often sing hymns as they slowly revolved around the symbol of their faith and belonging.
Tereza Buskova’s work on 11 June will involve re-enactment of this striking custom through the participation of over a hundred locals, but she will also weave in explorations of the ‘mother’ archetype through live performance, music and – intriguingly – ornate baked goods, including traditionally fried celestial crusts to be paraded and affixed to the church as decoration. In the weeks leading up to the main event Buskova will hold a series of baking workshops, open to the public, where participants can work with plaited dough. Communal preparation and display of ornate baked goods is rooted in the harvest and marriage festivities of Tereza’s homeland.
The artist has chosen to work with St Barnabas’ because of the extraordinary role this church plays in its community, which has a sizeable Central and Eastern European population. At a time when much of Britain will reconsider what it means to ‘belong’ to a wider community, this event will invite reflection on how the meaning of ‘community’ has changed from the days when Clipping the Church involved the people of a single village.
Clipping the Church is organised in close collaboration with the St. Barnabas’ Church and its congregation, located at the heart of Erdington High Street. Since its renovation the church has become a thriving cultural hub and its building now fuses original historic design with contemporary architecture.
Artist Tereza Buskova said:
“This project will bring together Birmingham’s diverse communities including some of its fresher arrivals from Central & Eastern Europe, like me. It will help us to see how people from various backgrounds can experience and enjoy British traditions.”
Tereza Buskova is a multi-disciplinary visual artist who celebrates and reinterprets long established customs with performance, print and video. Since her graduation from the RCA in 2007, her work has been exhibited, among others, by David Roberts (Rituals, 2008), Anita Zabludowicz (A Tradition I Do Not Mean To Break, 2009) and the Newlyn Art Gallery (Rituals Are Tellers Of Us, 2013). Her films were most recently shown at Whitechapel Gallery, London in Reality Czech: the Czech Avant-Garde Now, (2015).
Clipping the Church will be filmed and become part of a new video artwork, which will debut at Eastside Projects, Birmingham on Thursday 21 July 2016.
Clipping the Church is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Czech Centre , Shaw and Co Solicitors, and The Co-operative in collaboration with St Barnabas Church Centre, Czech and Slovak Club, John Taylor Hospice, Erdington BID, Kingstanding Food Community and Loaf.
Project curated by Roma Piotrowska.
Assited by Katie Stafford.
For more information on the project and associated events please visit: clippingthechurch.wordpress.com
For further press information, images and interview requests please contact: Annabel Clarke – email@example.com / 0771 993 3300
Saturday 30 April 2016, 11am-1pm
Salt dough decoration workshop
Loaf Bakery and Cookery School, 1421 Pershore Road, Stirchley, Birmingham. B30 2JL
Saturday 14 May 2016, 2.30-5pm
Workshop, artist talk and film screening
St Barnabas’ Church, High Street, Birmingham. B23 6SY
2.30pm – Salt dough decoration workshop.
5pm – Gathering with the artist, films screening + food and drink.
Saturday 11 June 2016, 3-5.30pm
Clipping the Church
St Barnabas’ Church, High Street, Birmingham B23 6SY
This summer, Czech artist Tereza Buskova will adorn a Birmingham church with ornate baked bread and encircle it with a living garland of 100 people. Sign up here firstname.lastname@example.org to join the artist in this exciting reenactment of a forgotten English tradition! Please provide full name and telephone number at the time of booking. Performance will start promptly at 3pm so please arrive on time.
3pm – Meeting on the square between Erdington Library and the Gym
3.15pm – Procession through Erdington High Street
3.30pm – Clipping the Church
4.30pm – Refreshments
Thursday 21 July 2016, 6.30-8pm
Motherhood, maternal and art – discussion
Eastside Projects, 86 Heath Mill Lane, Birmingham. B9 4AR
£4/2/free to ESP
Over the 20th century the representation of maternal in art has drastically changed from devotional and idealised to challenging traditional ideas of motherhood, exploring multifaceted categories of maternal subjectivity, including plurality of voices. A discussion at Eastside Projects will explore the representation of maternal in art, including different models of family and motherhood. The event will also investigate the position of a woman-mother-artist. The discussion will be followed by the screening of Clipping the Church.