Dedicated to sculpture and environmental arts, Jupiter Artland is a historic estate radically transformed through one couples contemporary vision.
Robert and Nicky Wilson bought the Jacobean Mannor, Bonninton House and its estate in 1999. Since then Jupiter Artland has slowly emerged through their woodlands from the ground up. The Estate hosts a contemporary permanent collection with works by internationally acclaimed artists such as Antony Gormley, Cornelia Parker and Andy Goldsworthy. This permanent collection sits alongside a programme of temporary exhibitions through out the year. These exhibitions invite visitors to consider their environment and how they interact with it through new, site specific, experiential and experimental works.
Open season to season, the educational programme engages all ages, from toddlers to teaching professionals and art practitioners. When I heard about JAL's Continual Professional Development Course for Art in the Outdoors I was instantly on board.
Throughout my early years, I was raised outside and on the move over Canada's various monumental landscapes. I have nurtured a great love of nature and over the years have aimed to become more critically conscious of my environment and how I interact with it. Working outside and site specifically is starting to become integral to my work and raw materials from breath to dirt, natural to the reclaimed hold increased fascination for me. The opportunity to encounter a diverse collection of contemporary works which focus on the matter of nature, either in thinking or physical form, was really exciting to me.
I had never been to a sculpture park before and this was the first time I had encountered the work of some of my favourite artists in their intended form (not in books, tv, or in a gallery format). On a rare sunny/warm Scottish autumn day I joined a group of educators and artists for a guided tour of the estate and the works rooted in amongst it.
Suck by Anish Kapoor is a towering prison of red rusting metals which can be encountered amongst the lime green of JAL's beach forest. The cage positioned just so, offers you a seemly bottomless void within. No position you take on the periphery can reveal its depth. Voids are a fascination in Kapoor's work. Suck invites you into that mystery and challenges the imagination to confront an absence that is somehow ominously present.
My favourite work came in the form of Stone House Bonnington by Andy Goldsworthy, a bothy hidden amongst winding paths and dimly lit tree groves. The house is inhabited by bed rock, which is slowly revealed as an occupant as the eye adjusts to the changing light from moving trees outside. There is a particular sense of stepping on someones toes as you walk over crevice and mound. This unsuspecting house, built not as gallery but a home was an unexpected surprise. Goldsworthy's work Stone Coppice litters the trails in amongst the Badger Wood. Boulders perch and recline into the folds and arms of coppiced trees to create a growing/living work. The weight of gravity and vertical lifts form a beautiful trail of relationships to observe, the energy palpable between rock and tree.
Helen Chadwick's garden of Piss Flowers are arranged in one of the many court yard spaces across JAL. Amongst one of the first to be nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize, Helen Chadwick embraces the use of materials shunned for being culturally or historical taboo. Urine presents to us one such material. The flower like forms were cast via impressions left from urinating in snow. Chadwick's work instigates a focus on the borders which govern what we see as beautiful or ugly, clean or dirty. Such a successful demonstration of how such borders can be transversed makes these flowers worth a second, third and forth look.
Christian Boltanski has several works throughout the estate, both inside and outside, including a new addition to the permanent collection Animatas. Using an island site, Boltanski spiked the ground with fine bells, a skyward representation of the stars visible the night of his birth. The sounds of the bells in high and low wind are enchanting as you walk through high grasses on the shore. The bells remind me of the Will-o'-the-wisp in ancient tales; spirits of change, direction and dis/orientation. Boltanski also offers the opportunity for visitors to record their heart beats for his famous work Les Archives de Coerur. The recordings made here join a colossal archive. Our familiar yet displaced sound waves upload and soon take up residence on the uninhabited Isle of Teshima, Japan.
Rivers by Tania Kovats gives us a beautiful structure to consider the mapping of distance, time and substance. The work combines geographical research with expanded forms of drawing which play a key part in all of Kovats' works. Rivers is a beautiful space for contemplation, viewing the pond below and a brilliant quiet zone for reflecting on H2O whist soaking up its reflecting light.
Jupiter Artland is currently closed to visitors for the winter until May 2017. To check out more artworks and past works from Jupiter Artland have a look at their website.