Holocene

Named after the current geological epoch, Holocene takes the form of a series of large sandstone blocks from the Chatsworth estate. Like a large sundial, the blocks cast a complex pattern of shadows throughout the day, rewarding any revisits. Some of the blocks also have the outline of the shadows that fall on them from another block at a precise moment in time.


A film by Alexander Caminada

About Holocene

Visitors to 2018’s Royal Horticultural Society Show Garden at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, witnessed a monumental stone sculpture on display in the garden, similar to Stonehenge and other ancient sites that are lit up on particular days of the year: it was precisely aligned with the movements of the sun so that at precicey 4.30PM on Saturday 9 June, the shadows cast by the sun fit perfectly with outlines of shadows that were carved into the stone.

The sculpture is named Holocene after the current geological epoch. It takes the form of a series of large sandstone blocks, which come from the Chatsworth estate. Like a large sundial, the blocks cast a complex pattern of shadows at different times of day, meaning that the work repays spending time with and revisiting. Some of the blocks also have carved into them, in deep relief, the outline of the shadows that will be falling on them at a precise moment of time: this has been worked out exactly using computer modelling.

Stroud-based sculptor Ann-Margreth Bohl created Holocene, working with digital designer Dan Hughes McGrail and stonemason Danny Evans. Much of Ann-Margreth’s previous work, which includes previous commissions for the RHS and the National Memorial Arboretum, has also explored themes of light and shadow, change and the passing of time.

The stone were from the Chatsworth estate and the work in a sense comes from the Derbyshire landscape (where quarrying has historically been an important industry), and it is due to return to it: after the blocks have been displayed in the RHS Show Garden, they will stay on the Chatsworth estate.

Written by Matt Shinn

‘Holocene’ Time Lapse, a film by Andy Armstrong. Approximately 2 hours compressed into 22 seconds.

Holocene journeys…

Sunbathers on Holocene

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Ann-Margreth Bohl