Old December: seasonal tidings

Old December: seasonal tidings

Let’s sing for old December. Thea Gilmore’s 2009 album, Strange Communion – one of the best ‘Christmas’ albums ever – has been reissued this month in an expanded form. Christmas is in quote marks there because Strange Communion is not a conventional seasonal album, but one that raises a glass to all, ‘whoever you praise.’ The collection’s true inspiration is the conjunction of celebrations that mark this season

Raise a glass for these days
And sing, sing, sing for old December

To mark this re-release, here’s a re-post of my original blog post from December 2009:

It seems to be a rich year for Christmas albums (and I am not referring to the Dylan one).  For jazz, Carla Bley has produced the excellent Carla’s Christmas Carols, while the greatly-underrated Thea Gilmore has produced what may be, for me, the best non-jazz album of 2009: Strange Communion.

Actually, Christmas album is a bit misleading: this collection of songs  is redolent of all things wintry, the sense of short December days, cold outside and warmth within.  So Christmas is here, but more in its pre-Christian pagan form.

The album contains 8 originals and 2 unusual covers: Yoko Ono’s incandescent ‘Listen The Snow Is Falling’, which in Gilmore’s arrangment really does conjure up that sense of muffled silence as snow falls, and ‘The St Stephens Day Murders’, a little known Elvis Costello song, that sonically comes from the same place as the Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’ but which has lyrics that illuminate the mad hilarity and agony of an English suburban family Christmas.

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On the stunning opening track Thea, singing acapella,  is joined by the Sense Of Sound Choir on ”Sol Invictus’, that invokes the Roman sun god, Sol Invictus (‘Unconquered Sun’), whom the third century emperor Aurelian elevated to one of the premier divinities of the Roman empire, inaugurating the tradition of  celebrating Sol on December 25.

Come the dark
Come the cold
Come the beating air
Chill the night
Sol delight
Will be dancing there
And rise up, rise up
Days stretching weary wings

Come the day
Come the dawn
Somewhere in the rain
Low my heart
Low my life
Forget everything

Come the day
Thief of the night
Lift his voice to sing
Now rise up, rise up
Ever victorious

Low the tide
Low the light
Comes the sun again
Now rise up, rise up
Ever victorious

Low the tide
Low the light
Comes the sun again

Elsewhere, Thea Gilmore’s lyrics invoke the old Yule or Yule-tide pagan winter festival, later absorbed into the Christian festival of Christmas. In pre-historic times, winter was a very difficult time for people in the northern latitudes: the growing season had ended and food stocks would br running low. As the life-giving sun sank lower in the sky each noon, people feared that it would eventually disappear and leave them in permanent darkness and cold. After the winter solstice, they would have reason to celebrate as they saw the sun rising and strengthening once more. Although many months of cold weather remained before spring, they could take heart that warmth and growth would return, so the concept of birth and rebirth became associated with the winter solstice. A slight elevation of the sun’s path would be noticeable just a few days after the solstice – perhaps by December 25, the date on which celebrations were often timed to occur. In AD 730, the English historian Bede gave December 25 as the first day of the pagan year and wrote that the Anglo-Saxons celebrated all night:

They began the year with December 25, the day some now celebrate as Christmas; and the very night to which we attach special sanctity they designated by the heathen term Mōdraniht, that is, the mothers’ night — a name bestowed, I suspect, on account of the ceremonies they performed while watching this night through

So this is far from being a sugary, American-style Christmas album in the Christian tradition. Thea Gilmore has blended many different traditions and cultural commentaries on winter darkness and rebirth.  In ‘Midwinter Toast’ she sings:

I don’t believe in many things
But here’s my hymn to you all

‘Cold Coming’, inspired by TS Eliot’s ‘The Journey of the Magi’, the story that began with ‘a heart upon the straw’ is pursued to our ‘streets paved with light’, its meaning ‘the old reunion of the rebel with the fight’.

It was a cold coming
With stars upon the ground
And the sky was burning
And all the world was sound
It was a love beginning
A heart upon the straw
And the children were singing
Our Lord, our lord, our lord
Do you sing that song?

It was a cold coming
The streets were paved with light
You could hear the engines running
You could hear them all night long
It was a strange communion
His name raised up in lights
The old reunion
Of the rebel with the fight

Strange Communion does have a potential top ten Christmas single – ‘That’ll Be Christmas. The traditional Christmas staples – mulled wine, mistletoe – are here, but Gilmore cleverly crafts her words to take a swipe at Christmas while simultaneously celebrating it, which is probably how a lot of us feel about the whole thing.

This approach is captured, too, in Elvis Costello’s only Christmas song , The St Stephen’s Day Murders, about the day after after Christmas.  Elvis wrote and recorded the song for a Chieftains album in 1991. The lyric is a perfect portrayal of family life in the aftermath of Christmas. He is remembering , perhaps , extended family gatherings in his Anglo-Irish Liverpool-London childhood:

The good will that lasts till the Feast of St. Stephen
For that is the time to eat, drink and be merry
Till the beer is all spilled and the whiskey has flowed
And the whole family tree you neglected to bury
Are feeding their faces until they explode

There’ll be laughter and tears over Tia Marias
Mixed up with that drink made from girders
Cause it’s all we’ve got left as they draw their last breath
Ah, it’s nice for the kids as you finally get rid of them
In the St. Stephen’s Day Murders

Aside from ‘Sol Invictus’, the most beautiful song on the album is ‘Drunken Angel’, which could have appeared on any Gilmore album and could be listened to in July, even though it is drenched in mid-winter imagery.  It is a song of affirmation and faith in beauty, feelings and renewal:

Winter tells its truth to anyone who will listen
It will whisper to you slowly when the light is low…

There are some things broken and some things to hold tight
To the few brave birds of the season who are sky-writing
Shine your light…

Now is the time that I will raise my eyes and be honest
And look out across the plain of another tired and reckless year
Give thanks for the love and wonder that was hurled upon us…

A drunken angel danced into my heart
Singing lonely days and a brand-new start

You can hear the howl of wings
You can feel it when the wine is flowing
The tired and the lonely lay down their weary heads
And, baby, sometimes the beauty in this world
Comes from just not knowing
Feeling instead

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The album has been picking up glowing reviews everywhere.  The Independent carried an insightful review this week, which included these comments:Gilmore opens the album with ‘Sol Invictus’, a pagan hymn to winter solstice, sung a cappella with the Sense of Sound Choir, before offering ‘Thea Gilmore’s Midwinter Toast’ in agnostic manner. “I don’t believe in many things, but here’s my hymn to you all”, she admits, facing the uneasy prospect of the new year with hope but no illusions. T S Eliot’s ‘The Journey of the Magi’ provides the opening image to ‘Cold Coming’, Gilmore’s folk-rock rallying-cry celebrating Jesus as outlaw revolutionary, “the old reunion of the rebel with the fight”, and finding an even colder coming in “the ringing of the till” […]
Winter tells its truth to anyone who’ll listen
It will whisper to you slowly when the light is low.

Lest her Christmas slip too far towards the cautionary and sober-sided, Gilmore offers her own unabashed attempt at a Christmas single with ‘That’ll be Christmas’ – and makes a better fist of it than most, mingling sharp coinages like “faith, hope and gluttony” with unusually fresh, evocative images over a rolling pop groove streaked with slide guitar. This album’s “Fairytale of New York”, meanwhile, is not so much her melancholy separation song ‘December in New York’, as the celtic-flavoured duet ‘St. Stephen’s Day Murders’, an obscure Elvis Costello oddity on which DJ Mark Radcliffe plays the Shane MacGowan part, brusquely sharing anticipation of “laughter and tears over Tia Marias”. But it’s another obscure cover, of Yoko Ono’s ‘Listen, the Snow is Falling’, which provides the album’s most magical moment, Gilmore’s delivery a hushed murmur over a shimmering synth-pad sparsely illuminated by the occasional chime.

Elsewhere, ‘Old December’ is another non-denominational celebration of the season – “whoever you praise, raise a glass to these days” – while acoustic guitar and an intimate shiver of strings lends an Astral Weeks ambience to the lovely ‘Drunken Angel’, which carries much the same message in more evocative language, promising that

Winter tells its truth to anyone who’ll listen
It will whisper to you slowly when the light is low.

Journey of the Magi by T.S. Eliot

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times when we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities dirty and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wineskins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Public View: celebrating 300 years of the Bluecoat

<em>Public View:</em> celebrating 300 years of the Bluecoat

The Bluecoat is 300 years old. Miraculously, the oldest building in Liverpool city centre has twice survived the threat of destruction (post-war city planners thought it would be a great idea to replace it with an inner-city ring road) to become one of the UK’s oldest arts centres. Completed in 1725, after two centuries serving as a charity school, in 1907 the building was taken over by a group of artists determined to stimulate Liverpool’s artistic and intellectual life. Two years later they hosted the First Post-Impressionist exhibition that featured work by Matisse, Picasso and others. Today, the contemporary arts continue to be showcased in this Grade One listed building. I went down to have a look at Public View, the first in a series of events celebrating the Bluecoat’s first 300 years. Continue reading Public View: celebrating 300 years of the Bluecoat”

John Lennon: In My Life

John Lennon: In My Life

Mark McGann In My Life

There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all.

Went to the Phil with S to see Mark McGann’s In My Life: A celebration of the music of John Lennon. Backed by Swedish band Pepperland, McGann reprised the role he first performed in Ken Cambell’s 1981 Everyman production, Lennon. The show told John’s story deftly, with McGann utilising apt Lennon quotations in his narration and he and the band performing equally well-chosen songs very professionally.

That said, there were some downsides to the evening. There was a terrible, unexpected support act – some guy doing karaoke to George Harrison songs. It was truly awful,  like being dragged kicking and screaming into the X-Factor. The slideshow during In My Life was amateurish and throughout both sets the sound was bad.  I think Pepperland brought along rather substandard speakers that were pushed beyond their limit, especially on the high notes. A bit like shards of glass being hurled into the audience.

It was in Liverpool in 1981 that Mark started his career, aged 20, in the Everyman’s original production Lennon. Last night I misinformed S that it was in the 1974 Everyman production John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert that I had first seen him play Lennon. Googling today, I realised I was quite wrong – McGann would only have been 13 at the time.

In fact, the play, which was Willy Russell’s first success, it was Bernard Hill who played John (while Paul was played by Trevor Eve and Ringo by Antony Sher!) Commissioned and directed by Alan Dosser for the Everyman Theatre where it opened in May 1974,  the production transferred to the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue in August.  The show was a major box office success for the Everyman Theatre. Nearly fifteen thousand people attended during its eight week run – record at the time.  The show also starred also starred Barbara Dickson just starting out as a singer.

The Liverpool Everyman was a creative powerhouse in the 1970s:

‘Even at the time and without the benefit of hindsight one knew just what an extraordinary company of actors Alan Dossor had assembled. As well as Bernard Hill and Tony Sher there was Johnathan Price, Alison Steadman, George Costigan, Trevor Eve, Liz Estensen, Philip Joseph, Matthew Kelly, Pete Postlethwaite, Julie Walters, Bill Nighy ….. awesome really’ – Willy Russell.

I thought I’d round off this post with two classic photos – bookends to John Lennon’s career. The first is the wonderful one of  The Quarry Men on 6 July 1957 performing at St. Peter’s Parish Church Fete, Woolton. This was, of course, the day that Paul met John. After this afternoon show, as The Quarry Men were setting up for an evening performance inside the church hall, John was introduced to Paul by mutual friend, Ivan Vaughn (leaning in towards John in the photo). Paul played Eddie Cochran’s Twenty Flight Rock for John and he knew the words to Be-Bop-A-Lula. John was impressed and a friendship began. On 18 October 1957, Paul made his debut with The Quarry Men at New Clubmoor Hall.

The other night I was watching the Imagine documentary on photographer Annie Leibovitz, in which the story of this – just about the last photo of John – was told:

The session took place in a bright, sunny room overlooking the park,” says Yoko Ono of her and John Lennon’s photo shoot at the Dakota, their New York apartment building, on December 8th, 1980. “We were feeling comfortable because it was Annie [Leibovitz], whom we respected and trusted, so John seemed not to have any problem taking off his clothes. John and I were hugging each other, feeling a bit giggly and up.”

“I was thinking that they had never been embarrassed to take their clothes off, that they could do a nude embrace,” says Leibovitz, who was photographing them for a Rolling Stone cover to mark the release of Double Fantasy, their first album in five years. “John took his clothes off in a few seconds, but Yoko was very reluctant. She said, ‘I’ll take my shirt off but not my pants.’ I was kinda disappointed, and I said, ‘Just leave everything on.’ We took one Polaroid, and the three of us knew it was profound right away.”

Yoko Ono & John Lennon Annie Leibovitz

That evening, returning to the Dakota on his way home from the recording studio, Lennon was shot and killed by a deranged fan. The photo would become the cover of Rolling Stone’s commemorative issue – no additional text was felt necessary.

Biennial: more highlights

The main event of the biennial is called ‘Made Up’ and shows commissioned work of more than 40 international artists across thirteen sites in the city,  exploring the theme of fantasy and imagination.

In Gleaming Lights of the Souls by Yayoi Kusama (exhibited in an empty factory unit off Jamaica Street) visitors are invited to enter a tardis-like chamber, whose small interior unfolds into a magical encounter with infinity. The small room is mirrored on all four sides, with a shallow pool of water on the floor. A changing constellation of small LED lights hung from the ceiling produce an infinite chain of endless reflections, transforming the small white cube into a distinctly otherworldly place.

At the same venue you could see Air-Port-City by Tomas Saraceno.  The programme notes explain:

Trained as an architect, since 2002 Tomas Saraceno has been developing his ideas for cities built in the air. His ongoing project Air-Port-City imagines a network of biospheres (or habitable cells) in the sky, like clouds, constantly moving, changing shape, and merging with one another.

This flying architecture builds on the tradition of utopian architects such as Buckminster Fuller and Archigram to propose a new mode of living that transcends national, geographic and political boundaries. Since 2002 Saraceno has continued, in sculptures, installations and experimental flights, to make a series of incremental steps towards his ultimate goal of cities built in the air.

His ‘biospheres’ are ethereal structures, in which clusters of transparent pillows are gathered together in arched nets to form larger spheres. Visually they invoke the structures of nature viewed through the lens of science, reminiscent of scientific models of atoms, or a collection of transparent eggs enlarged under the microscope. In his drawings, the interior of Air-Port-City appears like the palaces of the Moors (early pioneers in mathematics and astronomy), a progression of light airy halls framed by geometric forms endlessly receding into the distance.

One of the biggest events in Capital of Culture year has been the re-opening of the Bluecoat Arts Centre, which has come into its own for the biennial. Sarah Sze’s untitled installation takes over the stairwell in a teetering but intricately put together, heap of debris, stretching up three floors. The only motion comes from a single brick attached to a fan three floors up that swings precariously, threatening destruction of the whole work should it fall.

Also at the Bluecoat is an installation by Khalil Rabah – the Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind. After 12 Years is a legal case brought before the Swiss legal system by the Botanical Department of the Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind on behalf of a family of five olive trees that arrived from Ramallah, Palestine to Aniana Pank at the United Nations Office, Geneva, in 1995. The case argues the Trees’ legal right to be granted Swiss citizenships, since they have fulfilled the Swiss naturalisation requirements for the past 12 years.

The Biennial Guide explains further:

Using narratives that hover between fiction and reality, Khalil Rabah’s installations, objects, videos, actions and interventions articulate the very real situation of occupation experienced by Palestinians. His ongoing Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind, which has had manifestations in Athens, Istanbul, Amsterdam and elsewhere, playfully interrogates history as an accumulation of fact and artifice.

Yet the ‘evidence’ he presents cannot be taken at face value, playing around as he does with ideas of objective truth and authenticity. His fictionalised museum also questions and subverts the notion of archiving, documentation and the idea of the museum itself as a repository of objects and the construction of collective knowledge.

In 1995 Khalil Rabah planted olive trees outside the United Nations Office in Geneva. Uprooted from their original home in Palestine, the trees were replanted as symbols of peace in Switzerland. Metaphorically they referenced the continuing effects of war on Palestinian agriculture, economy and identity. In recent years, Rabah has learnt that only one tree remains and the others have been removed, although it Is not clear where they have been relocated to, or why.

In Liverpool, the Botanical Department of the Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind has initiated a legal investigation of the status of the trees. Presented in glass cases, the ‘evidence’ sits alongside a diorama of the absent trees, text panels, national flags and other accoutrements of the museum experience. Like his construction of an office for the United States of Palestine Airlines in London in 2007, this new work continues Rabah’s examination of fact and fiction, in which ownership of the past and reclamation of a future denied are played out.

At FACT, U-Ram Choe’s Opertus Lunula Umbra is on display. The Biennial Guide explains:

Modernity, based on a symbiotic relationship between man and machine, is fraught with contradictions: we strive to embed human intelligence into machines to make them ever more capable and powerful, but we fear and feel repelled by our increasing dependence upon artifice, yearning for a simpler life.

U-Ram Choe’s work embraces the man-made and the natural. He makes up a world of mechanical creatures that shift between streamlined metallic objects and amorphous biological forms of delicacy and weightlessness.

His recent large-scale automated sculptures move with an effortlessness that suggests gliding through water or being ruffled by a gentle breeze. They appear to be a life form that reflects both our desire to create an intelligently designed universe, and the relationship between nature and beauty.

They also suggest an archaeology of undiscovered futuristic organisms, resonant of primitive life forms, imagining a future past excavated from the ground or from the bottom of the sea. Each object has its own notes and biological profile to locate it in an imagined history and place; each is based in the evolutionary logic of a parallel universe, with detailed descriptions fon each species, information concerning feeding habits, reproduction cycles and behavioural characteristics.

The commission for MADE UP is his most ambitious to date: approximately 5m in length, Opertus Lunula Umbra (Hidden Shadow of the Moon) is inspired by moonlight energy, and folds and unfolds its mechanical wings with the breath-like undulation. Its story explores medieval fantasy, the seductive appearance of reflected sunlight on the moon, mystenious energy sources and a lunatic’s gaze into waters at night.

‘IS.R.A.M., oka United Research of Anima Machine, discovered this life-form made of mechanical structures from sunken boats of the past, and modern nautical devices. This new species was defined as Anima machine and a simulated setting was created to observe its behaviour. One of the outcomes from these efforts was the mega-sized model of ‘Opertus Lunula Umbra’ displayed in FACT, Liverpool. This model was based on the exact creature found in Albert Dock, so far known as the largest and the most evolved example of the species.’

Up at St Luke’s, Yoko Ono’s Liverpool Skyladders is on display:

Liverpool Skyladders takes the form of a simple invitation to donate a stepladder. Over the course of the Biennial, a forest of steps will grow inside the ruined church of St. Luke’s, entirely open to the skies since it was bombed in 1941.

The work revisits an unrealised performance, Sky Event for John Lennon (1968). In her instructions, Ono asked participants to ‘gather with their Sunday outfit, wearing their best hats’, and to ‘prepare binoculars and telescopes for people to occasionally check the sky. Ladders of great height should also be prepared for people who wish to climb up high to check.’ Later that year, the more conceptual Sky Event II instructed people to ‘do the sky event in your mind. THEN go out into the street and photos to document the event.’

If the original Sky Event was intended to have a celebratory festive quality, Liverpool Skyladders is a quieter more contemplative affair. The Sunday hats, binoculars and telescopes have been set aside for a simple installation which transforms a ubiquitous and utilitarian object into a vehicle of wonder. Ladders frequently appear in Ono’s work as a means to reach a higher level, physically and metaphorically. One of her earliest uses of the ladder was the performance Fly (1964), where a stepladder provided the launchpad from which invited guests took flight. In other works, the ladder becomes almost a mechanism of sight, as in Ceiling Piece, where visitors climbed a ladder to discover the word ‘Yes’ on a piece of paper suspended from the ceiling. In Liverpool Skyladders, the ladders are both a means to reach the sky, and a means by which to see the sky. Slowly growing from a few small saplings into a fully fledged forest, Liverpool Skyladders shares with Sky Event II the conviction that through collective participation, an act of imagination can become a reality. Through a simple affirmative act of will, a ladder can become a skyladder.

The Bluecoat reopens

The Bluecoat reopened this weekend and I went down to have a look. The place was packed and really buzzing. The refurbishment is impressive and tasteful – I particularly liked the way that the ‘join’ between the original building and the new extension has been deliberately left exposed. People were hanging wishes on Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree in the courtyard.

Rotterdam-based BIQ Architecten was commissioned to add a new block on the site of the East Wing – destroyed during World War Two – and to renovate the interior of the original Bluecoat, which dates back to 1716.

“The main inspiration for our design was really the existing building itself,” says Hans van der Heijden, head architect of the project. “We were interested in the fact that it was made of brick, which is very much a material that belongs to Liverpool, so we decided to make it our central material” explains Heijden.

From today’s Daily Post:

An estimated 10,000 people attended a weekend-long celebration to mark the reopening of Liverpool’s Bluecoat centre for contemporary art after a £12.5m refit. Culture Secretary Andy Burnham joined artists and civic leaders for the event, which began with 300 people assembling in the courtyard to cut a giant ribbon.

This was followed by taster activities and free events over the two-day celebration, including live music and appearances by leading literary figures Jeanette Winterson and Tom Paulin. Also present were Liverpool Culture Company’s creative director Phil Redmond, Liverpool council leader Warren Bradley, and the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Paul Clark. It is the first time the centre has been open to the public since 2005.

Mr Burnham said: “The reopening of the Bluecoat is a defining moment in Liverpool’s year as Capital of Culture. “There is no place I know that has this breadth of creative activity. I’m very pleased that one of the material legacies of 2008 will be an organisation that recognises the importance of creativity in everyone’s lives.”

Bluecoat’s chief executive Alastair Upton said some visitors had travelled from as far as the US to be present for the weekend’s opening events. “The queue started forming outside the gates from 9am on Saturday, and the first 300 that we could safely fit into the courtyard cut the ribbon, with many keeping a piece of it as a memento.” He added: “The public response has been phenomenal. People were saying how much they liked the building, that they had missed it and how glad they were that it is open again. The overwhelming response has been an emotional one. There is a very strong sense of ownership of the building, and people went there to take it back.”

Among the attractions of the opening weekend were the centre’s first exhibition Now Then, featuring artists such as Yoko Ono. There is also a new 85-seat restaurant-bar, Upstairs at the Bluecoat, as well as coffee, tea, cake and sandwiches from Espresso at the Bluecoat.


Formerly a school, the Grade I listed building dates back to 1717. It received a £3.6m grant from Arts Council England’s capital programme, almost £3m from the European Objective One programme, just over £2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and an investment of £2.5m from the North West Development Agency. At the heart of the refurbishment was the development of a wing that was previously unused and once destroyed by fire in World War II.

The new wing comprises four new galleries and a 200-seat performance space, 13 new artist studios and 13 creative industry studios, six retail shops, the espresso and restaurant-bar.