I was in Grizedale Forest, Cumbria, recently, enjoying some fine Lake District rain. The visitor centre had an exhibition of David Nash’s sculpture. Nash was artist in residence at Grizedale in the eighties and produced some of his most iconic work there; if you don’t know his vibe, it’s sculpted shapes, some figurative others abstract, hewn from fallen trees.
Some are beautiful, others twisted, wizened, magical. And one, Running Table, scared the actual snot out of me.
Nash, I’m pretty sure, would be disappointed and puzzled by this reaction. I can’t imagine giving the viewer nightmares was top of his list of intentions when he assembled the piece. I’m not going to describe it here – words couldn’t do this thing-of-horror justice – but what I will say with some confidence is that Nash isn’t a fan of jump-scare movies.
Where he sees a table, I see a monster.
It’s a crooked, terrifying thing that recalls the strange forest god from The Ritual. It looks like it moves in painful loping strides; part dead, part alive like the combination of man and machine at the end of The Fly.
Most frightening table ever? Google it, folks, and see for yourself.