The Arca Project

An exhibition Inspired by the work of W.G. Sebald

Presented by PayneShurvell

1 April – 7 May 2017 near Debenham, Suffolk


The Arca Project is an exhibition consisting of 16 visual and 16 textual responses to one single image. Each response has been realised as a limited edition print, developed and made by Invisible Print Studio.

In 1992, the cult writer W.G. Sebald turned a walk through Suffolk into an extraordinary book, The Rings of Saturn. The book is based on a walk down the coast from Lowestoft to Ditchingham, taking in Southwold, Dunwich and Walberswick.

Sebald died, aged 57, in a car crash in East Anglia. His four books combine memoir, fiction, travelogue, history, and biography and created a strange new literary compound.

In the same way that The Rings of Saturn takes a single idea, a walking tour, to open up a wide range of ideas and conversations, The Arca Project sent 16 international artists and 16 writers exactly the same image and asked them to interpret the image as they wished (the only limitation was the uniform paper orientation and size). The recurrence of this image offers many interpretations. All are fictitious. It is a game of false interpretations. The idea is to have artists and writers in a Sebaldian mix of fact and fiction, documentary and reality.

This exhibition, which will take place in a new space outside of Debenham, brings Sebald’s wanderer back full-circle to the county that inspired him. Additional events, including films and talks, will take place during the run of the exhibition. The Arca Project draws its title from an essay by Graeme Gilloch, The ‘Arca Project’: W.G.Sebald’s Corsica.

Artists and writers involved include Andrew Bick, Craig Burnett, Andrew Curtis, Karen Engle, Adam Fish, Emma Fraser, Lindsey Freeman, Graeme Gilloch, Steph Goodger, Oona Grimes, Tony Grisoni, Catherine Haines, Michael Hall, Molly Jarboe, Jaeho Kang, Naiza Khan, Jane Kilby, Abigail Lane, Richard Makin, Bob Matthews, Bruce McLean, Ana Milenkovic, Simon Patterson, Tony Plant, Daniel Rapley, Fabio La Rocca, Julian Rowe, Martina Schmid, Steven Scott, Allen Shelton, Erik Steinskog and Jo Stockham.

The Arca Project is curated by Michael Hall and Graeme Gilloch and will be presented by PayneShurvell.

The Arca Project

Invisible Print Studio has made all the limited edition prints for this project. Michael Hall is an artist, writer, curator and co-founder of Invisible Print Studio. Graeme Gilloch is a cultural theorist and Reader in Sociology at Lancaster University.


James Payne is a curator and writer. Joanne Shurvell is an arts publicist and writer. They ran PayneShurvell gallery in Shoreditch, London from 2010- 2014. Since 2015, they have organized art exhibitions in a variety of UK locations. For further information and/or images, please contact Joanne Shurvell

on 07977 996568 or email

More information and images closer to the date.