Thursday, June 12, 2008

a little bit of what you fancy...

It's a funny thing really that some people believe that artists are whimsical types who do a bit of painting here and a bit of drawing there, and have a thoroughly easy time of it, doing whatever they feel like. The truth is of course wholly different. Most of the artists and creative people that I know are among the hardest working, most driven people about - and often juggle full-time jobs alongside their various projects and art practices. This is of course, on the whole, rewarding - but can also at times be exhausting, thankless work. For this reason it is often useful to remind ourselves why we do it, and remember to enjoy it.
Inside the Fernery at Tatton.
It was with this in mind that a group of us (namely the AirSpace Team and some of the Axis Festival team) decided to reward ourselves for all of our hard work by having a day out at Tatton Park, who are celebrating their first ever Biennial this year.
They have commissioned 6 mid career artists to create sited works within the Gardens, as well as 12 emerging artists commissions, many of which have some sort of participatory or evolutionary element.
The result of a poetry workshop within the grounds.
On entrance to the gardens you are provided with a map showing whereabouts the various artworks can be found. We found it to be a bit like art orienteering. Having never visited the gardens before I have to say that for me the most enjoyable part was not finding the art, but wandering about in the garden itself. That said there were some delights to be found on the way.
Phil and Colin looking at one of Davis Cotterell's various pieces, and a clue that Phil found on the way.
At various points around the Garden we came across David Cotterell's site specific interventions. These pieces offered alternate realities for the space in which they were situated. The pieces reference Humphrey Repton's 1791 Red Book for Tatton Park. Repton was commissioned to come up with plans for the grounds of the Park to make them seem grander, accentuating nature, but hiding the 'interference of art.' Some of the interventions were more successful in their placement than others, and with this particular piece Cotterell had not adhered to one of Repton's main principles: 'It must studiously conceal every interference of art. However expensive by which the natural scenery is improved; making the whole appear the production of nature only.' - We could clearly see the wires holding the view up.
The piece that I enjoyed most was Heather and Ivan Morison's 'escape vehicle' - a wooden structure based on the failed Utopian idea of geodesic dome-shaped houses. The house was made of annually felled wood from the Park. Inside there was a lady tending to a wood burning stove with a kettle on it. She was dressed in an old-fashioned outfit, with a pinny. She gestured to us to take a seat at one of the wooden benches, and showed us the hibiscus tea. She didn't speak to us in words, but she gestured that she would like to offer us a cup of tea, which we gratefully accepted. We sat at the table and discussed how we would go about building a similar structure in Phil's garden, how businessmen in Scandinavia hold business meetings in the sauna so that they are all on an equal footing (being naked), and why the Morisons' piece might be called 'I'm so sorry, Goodbye.'
As we came to leave the lady said, Goodbye.
Sara and Bernard inside the geodesic house.
After the trail around the garden, we went across to one of the wooded areas of the park, to have a barbecue.
Vege kebabs, sausages and blueberry donuts consumed we spent some energy on Extreme AirFrisbee.
AirSpace members Katie and Bernard demonstrate that artists can be athletes too.
The day offered a much needed chance to relax and unwind in the sun, look at a bit of art, eat some lovely food and generally enjoy a Sunday out.

1 comment:

David Bethell said...

Bernard the Frisbee is behind you!