Filmmaker and writer Mark Cousins brings a new immersive installation to the Fruitmarket, Edinburgh. Like a Huge Scotland tells the story of a day of great inspiration in the life of Barns-Graham in an intense visual and surround-sound experience. In 1949 Barns-Graham walked to the Grindelwald glacier in Switzerland with some friends. As they picked their way across the frozen sea of ice and rock, she had an epiphany and later produced an extraordinary cycle of paintings inspired by what she had seen. More than 70 years after Barns-Graham, Mark Cousins climbed the same glacier filming what he saw – the glacier has retreated by a mile and is almost gone.
Mark Cousins has written ‘Wilhelmina Barns-Graham was a brilliant, free-thinking 20th Century artist. My work, Like a Huge Scotland, is electrified by her paintings in the way she was electrified by a climb up to a glacier in the Alps in May 1949. With composer Linda Buckley and sound designer Ania Przgoda, I will plunge people into the feeling of being inspired, of looking anew, of having your brain changed. What does inspiration feel like? What happened to Barns-Graham on that day?”
Shot on 8K cameras, the large-scale, enveloping, four-channel installation casts a forensic eye on Barns-Graham’s glacier paintings, enlarging details to 10,000 times their original size to reveal their almost molecular structure, alongside footage of the glacier filmed on the recent visit. The installation at the Fruitmarket will be accompanied by a selection of Barns-Graham’s glacier works selected and lent by the Trust.