‘Secrets and Lives’

Jill Randall was commissioned in 2005 by the Yard Gallery to research and develop a site-specific proposal for an exhibition of new work , continuing themes of secrecy and the manifestation of time.
The Yard Gallery has an established reputation for working with , and exhibiting innovative work by artists whose work explores the connections between Art, Science and Nature. The Gallery is adjacent to Wollaton Hall, a Tudor Mansion and Park which contains an important Natural History collection.
The resulting exhibition, “Secrets and Lives” made links between the architectural fabric of Wollaton Hall, and the collections housed within it, exploring 2 faces of “frozen time”.
Randall became fascinated by a secret space within the Hall, sealed up since the 1700s- a small but significant space in the past life of the Hall, and a metaphor for frozen time- a living extinction, reminding us of the building’s past life as a private residence.
Randall constructed an actual size replica of this architectural space within the gallery alongside extinct flora and fauna specimens borrowed from the Natural History collection , themselves frozen in time, the museum being the only means by which we can access this wildlife lost from the richness of the 18th Century Nottinghamshire landscape.
Randall also investigated the process of how extinction is evidenced by tracing the extinction of the “Grass of Parnassus” plant , and exhibiting the original archival documents, highlighting the subjective nature of the confirmation of extinction.

“Secrets and Lives” was funded by the Arts Council England, City of Nottingham, and The University of Salford.

Publication produced: “Secrets and Lives”-An Artists Diary. ISBN 0-905634 75 6 2005

Photography: David Bennett.

Film on YouTube – Interview with Jill Randall . “Wollaton Hall-An Artists Diary”.