Liverpool Cathedral to unveil latest art installation

Internationally renowned British designer Paul Cocksedge is creating a new spectacular art installation for Liverpool Cathedral using thousands of pieces of coal. Tony McDonough reports

Paul Cocksedge
British designer Paul Cocksedge is creating Coalescence at Liverpool Cathedral


Liverpool Cathedral is set to showcase another spectacular art installation.

Following the success of previous installations in 2021 and 2022, the cathedral will host the world debut of Coalescence, a new work by award-winning British designer Paul Cocksedge.

Free to view from Thursday, February 9, until Sunday, March 12, Coalescence is being created using thousands of pieces of coal. They will be Illuminated and suspended from the ceiling.

Prompting questions around energy consumption, the history of fossil fuels and the need to reach net zero, Coalescence features more than half a tonne of coal. This represents the amount of power needed to light one 200W light bulb for a year.

It will also encourage visitors to explore the beauty and value of different types of materials. Challenging the perception that all coal is dirty and polluting, the installation, spanning six metres in diameter, is made from anthracite, a type of coal with a high lustre that is low in impurities.

The anthracite used to create the artwork has been specially sourced from one of the last remaining coal mines in the UK.

Paul Cocksedge said: “This is a simple idea that has led to an incredible, educational journey. I’ve become really close to the material, hand-drilling thousands of pieces of coal to make this artwork.

“What I enjoy about this piece is that it sculpturally represents energy, as well as connecting to a huge range of challenges society is facing around where our energy comes from, how it’s sourced and what it costs.”

In 2022, the cathedral showcased Being Human, an installation featuring two giant-sized female hands by artist and sculptor Peter Walker. Peter was also behind an earlier installation at the cathedral called Peace Doves.


Paul Cocksedge
Paul Cocksedge will use thousands of pieces of coal to create Coalescence


Paul Cocksedge has spent much of his time working with local craftsmen and many of his pieces have been created in Liverpool including his copper and aluminium Freeze desk. This involved working with the city’s shipbuilders to push the boundaries of metalwork.

His previous work also includes KISS for City of Milan, Please Be Seated for London Design Festival and British Land and the Living Staircase for Ampersand in London.

Supported by Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Coalescence forms part of a programme of events, exhibitions and artworks leading up to Liverpool Cathedral’s 100th anniversary, which falls next year.

The Dean of Liverpool, The Very Revd Dr Sue Jones, added: “Paul Cocksedge is exceptionally talented and his work has been shown at iconic locations around the world. We’re enormously grateful that Paul has chosen to debut his fantastic Coalescence installation in the wonderful surroundings of Liverpool Cathedral.”

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