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ARK at Chester Cathedral

Free entry | 7 July – 15 October 2017

Education Partner

What is ARK?

ARK is a world class contemporary sculpture exhibition which will take place at Chester Cathedral between 7 July – 15 October 2017. It will be the largest modern sculpture exhibition to be held in the north west of England and will feature 90, three dimensional works by over 50 internationally renowned sculptors including Damien Hirst, Sir Antony Gormley, Lynn Chadwick, Barbara Hepworth, Sarah Lucas, David Mach, Kenneth Armitage and Peter Randall-Page, amongst others.

This exhibition will use the magnificent interior of the cathedral as a backdrop to extraordinary works of art as well as the beautiful and ancient spaces surrounding it. Several sculptors will be showing brand new works of art whilst some pieces will emerge for public view from private collections. It will be the first time these pieces have been seen together.

ARK will be free to enter.

Why ARK?

An ‘ARK’ is variously defined as a vessel, a place of refuge or a container to protect items and the cathedral is traditionally a place of sanctuary or simply a place for people to gather. In a metaphorical context, vessels appear often in abstract sculpture as do animals and they represent the myriad of creatures that appear woven into the fabric of the cathedral. The cathedral, symbolised as an ARK, embraces them all.

Why Chester Cathedral?

The red sandstone of Chester’s Gothic cathedral dominates the city centre and its historic interior provides an atmospheric creative space offering unparalleled accessibility to visitors. Chester Cathedral is the largest exhibition space within Chester. We hope ARK will start conversations and debate and will change the way people view our cathedral space.

Who is ARK aimed at?

The 90 art works will appeal to a broad audience and we hope there is something for everyone in ARK. New commissions will appear alongside established works of art and a number will be on loan from private collections. A sculptural menagerie will include child friendly pieces and an education programme will be aimed at schools, colleges and university students as well as all visitors with an interest in art and sculpture.

Who is behind ARK?

The vision and drive to bring world-class art to the city belongs entirely to Chester Cathedral with the assistance of specialist curators, Gallery Pangolin. Gallery Pangolin works with some of the foremost sculptors of our time and also runs the largest foundry in Europe, based in Gloucestershire. It specialises in casting in bronze but the ARK exhibition will contain works made in many other mediums by this esteemed foundry.

Opening times

ARK will run between 7 July – 15 October 2017.

The exhibition will be open daily Mon – Sat 9.00am – 6.00pm, and Sun 1.00pm – 6.00pm*

*Please note the cathedral will be closed to the public on the following afternoons:

  • 11 July 2017
  • 12 July 2017

It is advisable to check the cathedral website or call the switchboard (01244) 324756 to check opening times in advance. As a working cathedral, there are times when we must restrict public access

Press room

Please contact:

Emma Roberts (01244) 500963 |

Kevin Baxter (01244) 500969 |

Guided tours

Danielle O’ Sullivan (01244) 699044 |

Art in the City

Through years of hard work, Chester Cathedral has become a leading art and exhibitions venue within Chester. As part of the cathedral’s five-year strategic plan, Art in the City was created to expand the conservation and development of our heritage by bringing colour and art into the city.



18 MARCH 2016 – 1 MAY 2016

David Mach, one of Britain’s leading sculptors and one of the most important names in international contemporary art, saw his monumental sculpture Golgotha installed in Chester Cathedral in 2016.

Golgotha was situated in the South Transept where Mach’s shocking and contemporary depiction of the crucifixion contrasted starkly with the cathedral’s 14th century surroundings.


David Mach said, “Golgotha is my largest coat hanger piece to date, made for the original Precious Light anniversary show in 2011. I wanted this sculpture to be dramatic. It is an epic, violent scene. So the sculpture needed to have as much pathos as possible. I extruded the coat hanger hooks outward to reflect that and to me they seem to capture the agony of the moment.”

Mach launched the exhibition at an invitation only preview on 17th March and the Golgotha exhibition took place over the Easter period between 18th March and 1st May 2016.