The Undercroft [Gallery] in Norwich is dark, damp and difficult, but I love the place. It's where I cut my teeth, as the saying goes. Truth be told, I probably cut them in many other places, but this is where I found a true spiritual connection between material, space and self. In times gone by the Undercroft has served as a storage area for the marketplace that runs alongside, a public toilet, and a holding pen for convicts en route between the prison and the gallows...that last may just have been told to me by the proverbial 'man in a pub', but I choose to believe it.
What it is now is a dark, cool, underground space...55m long and echo-y. There are two rows of nine similar pillars stretching the entire length, although some of these have had false walls attached. There are odd curves and alcoves, nooks and crannies all over the place. The floor is sloped and uneven with the far end being at least a foot narrower than the entrance. It is a peaceful transitory space between the bustling ephemera of the surface and the deep and ancient heart of the planet, quite literally. To me the Undercroft is almost cathedral-like, albeit a very murky, squat cathedral.
In October this year, I will be partaking in a new exhibition here...it'll be my eighth time doing so. I guess my intention in writing about this space now is to precursor many more writings to come up until the show opens.