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Coalescence to illuminate debate at Liverpool Cathedral

An illuminated artwork made of thousands of pieces of coal has been unveiled in a world premiere new installation at Liverpool Cathedral.

Coalescence, by award-winning British designer Paul Cocksedge, aims to provoke conversation about energy consumption, the history of fossil fuels and the drive towards achieving ‘net zero’.

It contains the same amount of coal - half a tonne - needed to power a 200-watt lightbulb for a year.

The six metre (20ft) diameter work, which is suspended from the ceiling in the cathedral Well, is made from anthracite sourced from one of the remaining UK coal mines.

Cocksedge explains: “This is a simple idea that has led to an incredible, educational journey. I’ve become really close to the material, hand-drilling thousands of pieces of coal to make this artwork.

“What I enjoy about this piece is that it sculpturally represents energy, as well as connecting to a huge range of challenges society is facing around where our energy comes from, how it’s sourced and what it costs.

Above: Paul Cocksedge and top: Coalescence. Photos by Gareth Jones

“Showing this in Liverpool Cathedral, in this year in particular, felt very timely.”

Cathedral Dean, the Very Rev Dr Sue Jones, adds: “As a place of encounter, contemplation and reflection, Liverpool Cathedral is a space where people can come to find a sense of joy and wonder as they connect with thought-provoking artworks like Coalescence.

“Our previous collaborations with contemporary artists have been extremely well received and we’re very much looking forward to encouraging people to take time out to appreciate the remarkable beauty of Coalescence as they consider some of the issues explored by the piece.”

Each piece of coal, sourced from a mine in Wales, was carefully washed and polished by Cocksedge and his team before being suspended.

The installation, supported by Carpenters Workshop Gallery, forms part of a programme of events, exhibitions and artworks leading up to the 100th anniversary of Liverpool Cathedral’s consecration which falls next year.

Coalescence is at Liverpool Cathedral until March 12.


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