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Art installations at Blickling Estate explore books through contemporary art

PUBLISHED: 13:40 01 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:05 01 May 2018

The Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall. Joe Hufton (project director) and Lydia Denno (project designer).
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall. Joe Hufton (project director) and Lydia Denno (project designer). Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Visitors to the Blickling Estate will experience something different this season with an art installation marking a new chapter for the National Trust’s greatest book collection.

The Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Word Defiant is a series of installations throughout the mansion and out to the garden temple that reveal stories of books that have been banned, burned, redacted, drowned, neglected and superseded, with each linked to the theme of books under threat.

The inspiration for the installations come from the 12,500 books in Blickling’s own library.

One of the installations is a recreation of the university library in Mosul, Iraq which was burned down by Isis militants in 2014.

Elsewhere, a copy of Winnie the Pooh has been placed in a bookcase of 19th century books to highlight it being banned in China.

The Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Other installations include 14 copies of a book by US army Lt Col Anthony Shaffer, which was censored by the Pentagon, and a cascade of books across the Long Gallery.

There’s also the story of the floating library in Venice where books are kept in bathtubs to protect them from flooding.

Meanwhile, in the Chinese dressing room, a sound installation features maps and A-Zs, signifying how digital technology has superseded examples of the printed word.

Outside, the garden temple has been given pink windows to draw attention to the neglect of old books.

The Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Theatre company Les Enfants Terribles has used sound and theatrical design to explore the importance of books and the threat posed to them.

Project director Joe Hufton said: “The original idea was to rip things up and cause chaos in the house. With the booking of books, we did not want to do the Second World War/ Holocaust, which we thought had been done. Some of these books are still radical in parts of the world.”

Project designer Lydia Denno said: “Burning books goes back to the destruction of the library in Alexandria, but we wanted it to be contemporary. We live in a world of social media where everyone can see what they want, but censorship and denial of information is still going on.”

The Word Defiant runs from today to October 28.

The Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe Word Defiant! art exhibition at Blickling Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

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