Stained Glass as you've never seen it before
Review and photos by Alison Manning
For those yet to discover the fascinating artistic wonderland that is the LTB Showrooms, you are in for a treat, but you’ll have to get there quickly as it closes for good on 18 February, due to the City Centre South redevelopment.
Located on the upper floors above the Litten Tree pub, originally the Rover Showrooms, later a department store and Intershop, the space is accessed by a staircase on the left as you enter the pub. The first gallery space is the four whitewashed walls of the mezzanine at the top of this staircase, currently filled by numerous and carefully detailed sharpie sketches of Coventry pubs. The door to the right leads to the heart of LTB Showrooms, a darkened industrial-looking space with changing exhibitions of paintings and sculptures, including a large representation of Coventry ring road made of donated bling, and an installation in the old lift shaft. There are sofas here where you can sit, work, create and take advantage of the free Wi-Fi.
Another door takes you through to a maze of corridors filled with a variety of bright artworks, original graffiti with, surprisingly, a small roof terrace off to one side. Follow the steps up to the parquet-floored entertainment suite of the Rover Showrooms.
Until the 20 January this room is home to an intriguing installation, “Stained Glass,” featuring close up photographs of stained glass windows from Coventry Cathedral taken by local artist Mary Courtney and projected on to six large screens and set to atmospheric music by Alan Denyer. The photos feature the often-overlooked nave windows, rather than the already much celebrated baptistry window. Designed by Lawrence Lee, Keith New and Geoffrey Clarke in the 1950s, these side windows reach over 20 metres high, so it is usually hard to spot the details magnified here. The eyes, hands, strange creatures and abstract patterns come to life on these large screens, showing up each scratch and stroke. Captivating fragments give the impression of frost formations or spiralling cobwebs.
For those mesmerised, there are sofas here too where you can sit, study the stained glass patterns and drink it all in, ecclesiastical candles and an angel sculpture completing the ambience of the room. When you have finished, descend the stairs and exit back to the main room following the arrows, through a different part of the labyrinth, with more absorbing art to view along the way.
Floors 1,2 & 3 above Litten Tree Pub 1a Warwick Row, Coventry, CV1. Free admission. Unfortunately, there is no lift.