The wanderer in the sea of mist

A temporary artwork made for Petrikapelle beim Dom Brandenburg

In Caspar David Friedrich's well known painting 'The Wanderer Above The Sea of Mists' the traveler stands on a mountain top gazing down on a range of peaks rising above an enveloping mist. Because we only see his back it is hard for us be sure what he is feeling, but the style of painting suggests that he could be experiencing a sense of mastery, a blissful identification with the landscape, an extreme sense of loneliness or a combination of all of these.


The Petrikapelle offers a sort of inversion of the painting. In its strange vertical space the architecture directs the eye upwards to the up-side-down pinnacles of the ceiling. In this situation I am a traveler. Yet it is as if I am inside the view and so unable to see it. Inside Fredrich's sea of mist maybe?


The Petrikapelle whispers promises of soaring transcendence and I am attracted but I am also full of doubts, conscious of the dangers of a romantic view of history.


In this artwork I have exaggerated the architecture, further isolating the building by muting the windows. Its height is articulated by ropes and briars that offer the possibility (to the imagination at least) of passing up the vertical axis and traveling on. In some ways the wanderer in the sea of mist collaborates with the Petrikapelle; in other ways it resists it.

Clare Charnley

This exhibition is supported by The Hull School of Art and Design, University of Lincolnshire and Humberside and The British Council.