THE STORY BEHIND THE WAVE
Your Waves Go Over Me was a unique art installation by Mark Reed, commissioned by Norwich Cathedral's Hostry as part of the Natural History Museum's Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure exhibition at the Cathedral. The piece took its inspiration from the plunging breaker, a wave whose size has reached a critical level and is in the process of rapid transformation.
Over 235,000 visitors walked through the immersive 10-metre monumental sculpture of 3,000 iridescent colourful fish. Walking through the monumental breaking wave, visitors moved backwards in time from the modern day with its pollution and plastics, past flotsam and jetsam of past eras including Gingko branches, cast bronze mice and bronze Ammonites until moving through the Ichthys fish to the Cathedral and ultimately Jurassic Dippy. Upon first glance, the striking shoals of fish formed an installation of great beauty but, on closer inspection, litter could be seen scattered among the fish - a stark reminder of the damage currently being done to our planet.
The title of the sculpture is inspired by a quotation taken from the Psalms (42.9) - ‘All thy waves and storms are gone over me’ - a reference to how, while the Bible and modern science differ about many things, they are in entire agreement that life as we know it emerged from water.
The work invited the viewer to think about the central themes inherent in both the Dippy exhibition and the venue in which it is held. The work is a meditation of life on earth, from its origins in the very distant past to Dippy’s time and our own day, and a reminder of the total dependence all life on this planet has on the generative powers of water. Water is intrinsic to all life on earth and the wave sculpture symbolises both its life sustaining powers and the potentially destructive forces that water can unleash, especially when combined with increasingly threatening manmade climate chaos.
So it is hugely ironic that on the final day of setting up, the Hostry at Norwich Cathedral was flooded after torrential rain in the centre of Norwich, within an hour the environmental Wave sculpture was surrounded by water over a foot deep...
Mark said, " my place in the world and the responsibility I have to future generations ( not least my 4 children) is hugely important to me, every component of the work will be re-used after the end of the exhibition, so the wave sculpture will be transformed into other sculptures and our unique bird feeder trees : www.birdfeedertree.com at the studio, the individual fish are available to purchase on the website and all other components have been loaned by generous local companies."
Reflecting on the Wave in Norwich Cathedral’s Hostry, Reed said: “It’s so great to have a sculpture in such a stunning setting, so much of my work has been transported to the US and Middle East and I love having a piece here in Norfolk, in the community that shapes me. It was a marvellous atmosphere working with a great team of volunteers from the Cathedral and Norwich University of the Arts, especially after the recent Covid lockdowns. The response from the public has been breath-taking, it's really wonderful to see how moved people are by the sculpture, particularly when children point out the rubbish and pollution with the fish caught in it."
The vast majority of the fish were pre-ordered at the exhibition and sent on afterwards and we were delighted to raise over £2,500 for Norwich Cathedral Exhibition Fund, Some of the remaining stainless steel fish can be purchased on this website, thus a unique opportunity to own a piece of the sculpture.
The lighting for Your Waves Go Over Me was kindly sponsored by Viking Stage Lighting and other elements used in the construction of the piece were loaned by Tufts of Bradenham.
To see more of Mark's complete portfolio please see his website www.markreedsculpture.com or click on the Mark Reed signature at the top of the page.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Images with thanks to Bill Smith/Norwich Cathedral
Wave with Fish in flooded Hostry, Norwich Cathedral Fri. 9th July 2021