Simon Pope’s artistic practice foregrounds the act of walking not as a solitary but as a participatory pursuit, and for his commission for Waterlog he further developed this trademark theme of ‘walking and sociality’.
After identifying landscape paintings held in the collections at the exhibition venues in Norwich and Lincoln (including many from the ‘Norwich School’), Pope asked a number of invited participants to select one of the paintings and memorise it. The seventeen participants were all writers - poets, novelists, geographers, ecologists, naturalists – who each walked with Pope to a different location in the East Anglian Fenlands, where they were asked to describe the painting from memory; a process of recollection which was recorded on audio and also documented in photographs. The paintings themselves were hung within the gallery, although most were draped with black silk, reminiscent of the ancient Dutch ritual practiced in homes at times of mourning. At regular intervals during the exhibition a different painting was unveiled, with its audio description available for download from the Waterlog website.