Large Ghost grew out of the time Catling spent in 1999 as part of the Civitella Ranieri Foundation artist residency program at the 15th century Ranieri castle, located outside the small city of Umbertide, Italy. Founded in 1995, the Foundation welcomes artists of all specialties to the castle annually for a six-week residency session, four times a year. Fellowships are awarded by nomination; past Fellows include the likes of Anita Desai, Tobias Wolff, Lat, and El Anatsui.
Catling's visit came before his RA appointment; he was then the Sculpture Department Head at the Ruskin School of Drawing, University of Oxford.
From the Annual Catalogue:
"At Civitella I worked on a long poem LARGE GHOST. I also made a series of drawings to summon a new head for the decapitated statue of the Count Ranieri. The colour and texture of which were cloned from digital photographs of his ancient stone body. For me it is always the other works, which pin down the memory of place. The unmade ones, the ones that are still rotating and murmuring on departure. For Civitella it was the staves, tall wooden poles; staffs for walking, saint props. Each one carefully made, each containing a slice of silver mirror, an elliptical halo grafted into their hard bodies. Each stave would have the fingerprints of a fellow or friend cut and varnished into its surface. The staves would be hidden in the countryside around the castle, radiating outward, lost in the woods by the side of overgrown tracks."
An except of the poem can be found here.
Publisher: Equipage (by the gracious Rod Mengham); 2001
Collected: A Court of Miracles; published by Etruscan Books; 2009