The Breamore Miz-Maze, Hampshire. Photo by Jim Champion.

As part of the work-related research this week I was looking for designs of old turf labyrinths. It turns out I have two pages of the things in a book I’d earlier considered dropping into Oxfam so that particular volume may have gained a reprieve. Before I went to the bookshelves I’d been browsing the rather wonderful Labyrinthos site which is just the kind of detailed resource you hope to find in these circumstances. There we find an explanation for the difference between a maze and a labyrinth (the general rule being that a maze has more than one choice of route), and a wealth of examples from ancient history to the present day. I’ve long been fascinated by the labyrinths found in churches and cathedrals, of which the most famous example is the one in Chartres Cathedral. They’re a rare incidence of a symbolic device in Christian architecture which is near-universal, and which has clear antecedents in the labyrinths and mazes found in ancient temples. Labyrinthos has a guide to some of the surviving examples to be found in England. As to England’s turf labyrinths, there’s a page devoted to those here with a number of photos.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Jeppe Hein’s mirror labyrinth

Jeppe Hein’s mirror labyrinth


Follow Me by Jeppe Hein. Photo by Jamie Woodley.

More mirror art. Yes, I really like this kind of thing, and this particular example, Follow Me by Danish artist Jeppe Hein, looks especially fine with the sunlight and trees reflected from its panels. Hein’s labyrinth is a new and permanent installation in the grounds of Royal Fort House at the University of Bristol; the grounds are open to the public so anyone can pay the work a visit.

The artwork comprises a square labyrinth of 76 vertical polished steel plates sited at the base of an incline leading down from Royal Fort House. Visitors will be encouraged to enter the labyrinth to experience the effect of the work. Once inside, the reflections of participants and surrounding plants and trees are multiplied.

Jeppe Hein was inspired by the University as a place of self-discovery, as well as by the history of the gardens – particularly the designs of 18th-century landscape gardener Sir Humphry Repton, who similarly sought to promote imaginative encounters. (More.)

Previously on { feuilleton }
The art of Josiah McElheny