Nathan Coley, one of Britain's more interesting artists, is amongst the four nominations for the 2007 Turner Prize. I for one, hope he wins it, simply on the strength of this installation, which I think is fabulous.
It was inspired by a 17th century story from the French village Modseine. The village was the site of numerous supposed miracles and magical practices. The local authorities took umbrage to this and the visiting hoards and tried their utmost to stop the village being taken over. Eventually a notice was put up stating ‘There will be no miracles here, by order of the King’.
It represents to me, the ongoing struggle between material reality and metaphysical hubris. In posting this command, the authorities asserted their control over the land and its people, and therefore the miracles that they witnessed - The miracles that they made themselves.
David Hume, in his essay ‘Of Miracles’ (1748) wrote "The gazing populace receive greedily, without examination, whatever soothes superstition and promotes wonder."
So, 'there will be no miracles' can then be understood as an imperative to depart from superstition and the irrational, to empower individuals to take responsibility for their own actions and without reliance on, so-called higher powers.
No wonder I like the piece, eh?