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Talking Stone: Finding meaning in the landscape of Ilkley Moor


The exhibition explores the transformation of a prehistoric carved rock into artist books, prints, photography, projection, land art and film.

Mapping a five-year exploration on the Ilkley Moor, the exhibition fosters new encounters with the mysterious and enigmatic ‘Badger Stone’ rock and documents four major performance/installation pieces on the Moor: The Lying Stanes (2013), Ad/dressing the Stone (2013) Talking Stone (2015) and The First Cut (2016).

A playful and imaginative conversation ensues between the visitor, the exhibition and the archaeological record that is housed within the Ilkley Manor House. The focus of the exhibition is the Badger Stone which is an earth fast reddish-brown rock over three metres long and over one metre tall incised with concentric circles and intersecting grooves.

Reminiscent of the Uluru (Ayers Rock) circle paintings, the carvings have been interpreted as universal symbols giving the rocks and wider landscape a spiritual or sacred significance. The exact meaning of the circles is unknown. By striving to embrace the ancient traditions of mark making and circle making, Dobson revitalises the distinctive relationship between humans and the marked rocks that has persisted for millennia.

By gifting art work to the Ilkley Community, the symbolism persists and reclaims a small fragment of the heritage landscape as contemporary public art.

Filippa Dobson is a completing PhD student in the School of Design supervised by Dr Judith Tucker and Dr Paul Wilson.

Private View & Ilkley Arts Creative Networking Event: Friday 23 February 6 pm – 9 pm.

Free entry
Location: Ilkley Manor House, Castle Yard, Ilkley, LS29 9DT