South Downs Spring Inspires Artwork and Video Installation

Image from artists Anna Heinrich and Leon Palmer.

Jonathan Smith from Brightword reports on a unique artwork and video installation inspired by the chalk springs which keep Portsmouth supplied with water.

The Spring in Havant commissioned Anna Heinrich and Leon Palmer to create something special to help celebrate its tenth anniversary.

Before embarking on the project, the internationally acclaimed artists researched the history of the local chalk springs and how industries such as brewing, milling, tanning and glove and parchment making grew up around Havant because of the abundant water supply.

Anna said, ‘The springs connect the South Downs to the sea and supply the whole of Portsmouth with fresh water. The majority are hidden from view.’

The pair, who are based in the city, visited Portsmouth Water and one of the springs below ground before creating the video installation, which they named Wellspring.

‘We hired a special high-speed camera and a technical operative to come down to Havant and spent a very long day in May 2019 filming the various sequences at The Spring,’ said Anna.

‘We had to make the work fit well with the space at The Spring and control the light levels so the installation feels immersive and focused.  The sense of immersion is a key component and one which The Spring was keen to see, as it creates a distinctly different experience of the space.’

The installation features a blacked out area with a low ceiling. The video projection spans 2.7 metres across the centre wall and the side walls are mirrored so the film sequence wraps around the viewer.

Anna added, ‘We like the way that ordinary small scale events such as cascading water or stones falling on chalk dust become monumental sculpture and mesmerising to watch. Visitors will start to feel immersed in the landscape of another world that is slowly transforming and unfolding.’


Wellspring can be seen at The Spring in East Street, Havant, during opening hours until December 28. Find out more about Anna and Leon’s work at their website and follow the Spring on Facebook and Twitter

You can also meet the artists on 20th November at this FREE event, but booking is essential.