Matthew has built up a practice of walking the site over several years, exploring the huge grounds as part of his daily routine. Through his physical exploration of the grounds, he uncovers hidden objects and remnants of past life. In ‘Reclaiming Asylum’, Matthew presents a sculptural map of the Bethlem Royal Hospital from his own perspective that includes areas of refuge, relaxation and opportunities for creative practice.
Over the course of the exhibition, Matthew will be adding various elements to the map that draw on his detailed knowledge of the grounds, it’s wildlife and fauna. The ongoing additions will also explore some of his ideas for the potential of the grounds and how they can be utilised artistically and therapeutically. Over to Matthew.
I have been here at the Bethlem Royal Hospital for over five years now, but it seems only a short time.
After waiting 15 months for ground leave, the first half hour was the most amazing and worthwhile, as I had waited for over 10 years just to touch a tree, feel the bark, wonder at its branches that seemed to be gently waving their leaves at me in the breeze. And to walk on grass with moss mixed in making it feel nice and springy. To be able to walk in a straight line for more than 25 meters.
For now the grounds are almost my home as l spend more time in them than anywhere else. Every time that I go onto the grounds there is always something different to see, as the seasons are forever changing, bringing untold mysteries; the wind answers my lost thoughts, emotions and feelings.