A major new installation by artist and musician Linder Sterling called ‘Bower of Bliss’ will be unveiled as one of the highlights of a new sculpture exhibition called ‘Chatsworth Outdoors: Grounds for sculpture’, opening in the garden of the Derbyshire estate on Friday 14 September (see ‘notes to editors’ for information on press call, 12 September).
Featuring many of the leading lights of the post-war sculpture such as Antony Gormley, Elisabeth Frink and Barry Flanagan (see ‘notes to editors’ for full list) ‘Chatsworth Outdoors’ will feature more than 35 artworks, including sculptures rarely seen in public.
The exhibition will shine a spotlight on art and nature through the creation of ‘viewpoints’; points of interest chosen by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and intended to draw visitors into new corners of the world-famous, 105-acre garden. Each sculpture is positioned in response to the landscape; the garden being a sculpture itself having been shaped, built, planted and hewn from the Derbyshire countryside by legendary figures such as Joseph Paxton, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, and contemporary gardeners such as Dan Pearson.
Linder Sterling is creating a ‘Bower of Bliss’ in response to an existing bower at Chatsworth, known as Queen Mary’s Bower. Mary, Queen of Scots was held at Chatsworth during her imprisonment by Queen Elizabeth I. A romantic view is that the bower was a place where the confined Queen could exercise. Queen Mary’s Bower is now one of the few remaining hints of the Tudor estate at Chatsworth.
Taking the idea of the historic and solid bower, Linder has instead made a temporary space, decorated and defined by curving lines, symbolically linking it to a womb-like space of safety and nurture. Sensory and thought provoking, decorated with plants, texture, scent and colour, the bower is made of many elements coming together in a montage of objects and ideas which are tended as a garden.
A bower is a way of describing a garden that enfolds and secludes a place and can take many forms: leafy branches can enclose a glade, or a structure can define a space for gathering, for contemplation, performance or rest. Linder’s Bower rests lightly in the landscape here – a landscape otherwise shaped by huge movements of earth, plants, stone and water. The structure of Linder’s Bower is based on a device more familiar in Chinese and Japanese gardens, known as moon-gates. These circular structures are highly symbolic ways of entering a garden, or marking the movement from one space to another.
Linder has been artist-in-residence during 2017/18 and will be giving a talk about her work at Chatsworth during the ‘Art Out Loud’ festival (21-23 September), held in the garden. During her residency, Linder immersed herself in the life of the estate and as well as the ‘Bower of Bliss’ she will discuss ‘Her Grace Land’ (on display until 21 October), four installations in the house that explore the female voice at Chatsworth in the centenary year of the Act of Representation.
‘Art Out Loud’ is the only UK weekend festival of public talks about art, with speakers including the artists Idris Khan and 2017 Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid; historian Dan Cruikshank; and celebrated architects John Pawson, Amanda Levete and RIBA 2017 Stirling Prize winner Alex de Rijke.
After spending time at Chatsworth for this exhibition, Linder’s Bower will transport to other places and will be remade in other guises.
Notes to editors:
Press call, Wednesday 12 September
The press call will feature Linder Sterling and a music and dance performance at the Bower of Bliss as well as the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Media attending will have the opportunity to view the entire exhibition and do interviews, film or take photographs. Exact details and timing tbc but please register your interest with Redbrick Communications to ensure you receive the press call notice approximately one week ahead.
Great art from a new perspective: Chatsworth Outdoors
Drawn from across Devonshire estates including Chatsworth, Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire and Lismore Castle in Ireland, Chatsworth Outdoors includes:
- Magdalena Abakanowicz, Artubar
- Susie Bacon, Dusk & Dawn
- Jurgen Bey, Treetrunk Bench
- Gary Breeze, Timepiece
- Marzia Colonna, Metamorphosis
- Angela Conner, Bust Of Dame Elisabeth Frink
- Angela Conner, Portrait Busts
- Martin Cook & Gary Breeze, Antithesis of Sarcophagi
- Mark Coreth, Warthog
- Keith Coventry, Bench, Friary Road SE15 and Columbia Road E2
- Michael Craig-Martin, High Heel (pink)
- Michael Craig-Martin, Umbrella (purple)
- Alison Crowther, Lover’s Seat
- Nic Fiddean-Green, Into the Wind
- Barry Flanagan, Drummer
- Barry Flanagan, Elephant
- Barry Flanagan, Leaping Hare on Curly Bell
- Elisabeth Frink, Lying Down Horse
- Elisabeth Frink, Tribute I
- Elisabeth Frink, Walking Madonna
- Elisabeth Frink, War Horse
- Antony Gormley, Learning to be I
- Allen Jones, Déjeuner sur l’Herbe
- Allen Jones, Screen
- Jenifer Lloyd-Jones, Large Urn, Tall Urn, Small Round Urn
- Richard Long, Cornwall Slate Line
- Alexander MacDonald-Buchanan, Energy (Two in each area, from a group of four)
- Corin Mellor, Galvanised Steel Bench
- David Nash, Forms That Grow In The Night
- David Nash, Oculus Oak
- Jedd Novatt, Chaos Meteoro
Antony Gormley’s Learning to be I, is cast iron. A single standing male figure, it was made by casting sections from the artist’s body and then welding these together. As with other works by Gormley from the early 1990s like this, it expresses an idea about human awakening. Previously sited in the garden at Lismore Castle, in Ireland, this is the first time that it has been displayed at Chatsworth.
Four works by Elisabeth Frink are part of the exhibition. The sculptures display themes to which Frink constantly returned: the horror and heroism of war; compassion; tolerance and spiritual strength; all expressed in her distinctive style and using both human and animal forms. A sculptural portrait of Frink by Angela Conner can also be seen in the Stable Courtyard.
Allen Jones also features in this exhibition. A pop artist, who works in painting and sculpture, here he is represented by two works that are stylised and lyrical compositions of human figures. Déjeuner sur l’Herbe references an Impressionist painting by Manet, which provocatively combined clothed male and nude female figures, and which harks back to Jones’ own earlier controversial works. Screen frames the landscape with intertwining human forms, and is a structure that encloses a view, but also invites you through it, and into the garden beyond.
The Chatsworth House Trust is dedicated to the preservation of Chatsworth House, the art collection, garden, woodlands and park for the long term benefit of the public.
The charity promotes the study and appreciation of Chatsworth as a place of historic, architectural and artistic interest and of natural beauty, and encourages the use and enjoyment of Chatsworth by visitors for education and recreation.
Chatsworth is a member of the Treasure Houses of England, 10 of the most magnificent palaces, stately homes and castles in England. www.treasurehouses.co.uk
Chatsworth is only 16 miles from the M1, 10 miles from Chesterfield, and 8 miles north of Matlock, in the heart of Derbyshire’s Peak District National Park and is well served by transport links throughout the UK.
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