Holding Cell, Criminal Court, Shire Hall, Nottingham, England.

12th November - 19th November 1993
12:00 noon - 6:00 pm daily (non-stop)

Commission for NOW Festival, Nottingham.

* * *

"If it's weird, it must be art"

Stephen Pile
p23, November 27th 1993

One of the four is by Alastair MacLennan, and "the most powerful work I have ever commissioned", Metcalfe says. A black cloth is draped across the door of the condemned cell beneath the courtroom. Each visitor enters alone. Inside, the gloomy walls are covered with the prisoner's despairing graffiti. To the right, on the lavatory floor, are a man's boot, a child's shoe and a woman's silver slipper, with candles burning in front of each. In the centre of the small room, restricting your movement around the walls, is a large metal and glass structure, like a glasshouse. In one compartment is a judge's hammer and block, in the other is a motionless, faceless figure covered from head to foot in black.

The innocent assume it is a dummy, and reach through the door to prod the figure. It turns out to be the artist, which makes the whole thing suddenly terrifying.

During the week, MacLennan added to the work and changed his position in it, so that people were unsure if he was a condemned man or a judge with his hanging cap on.