PUBLISHED: 08:31 21 October 2014 | UPDATED: 08:31 21 October 2014
WORDS: Sarah Ford
Hand crafted wood, taxidermy and edible plants are some of the diverse materials and methods which have been used to transform areas of the Victorian Gothic mansion of Tyntesfield, and National Nature Reserve Leigh Woods.
Ceramics and textiles have also been employed to create six new installations for the contemporary art exhibitions. They have been made by artists Assemble, London Fieldworks, Nina Saunders, Insa Winkler, Owen Griffiths and Fern Thomas for the two sites cared for by the National Trust.
Visitors can interact with the new art works through touch, smell and taste.
The artists are exploring how we are affected by the design of our environment and how they are a reflection of our relationship with the urban and the rural.
Artist and landscape designer Insa Winkler is responding to the unusual water history of the Tyntesfield Estate by working with the garden team to transform Lady Wraxall’s Garden into a sustainable oasis. Nina Saunders has transformed the Aviary into a world where birds and humans take a new form.
In response to the planned planting of a new orchard at Tyntesfield, Owen Griffiths and Fern Thomas are designing a new space: The Green Room. This will host a range of activities and events connected to the process of preparing the soil for the new orchard. Over the course of the show, a viewing tower will be constructed so that guests can overlook what will, one day, be home to the trees producing Tyntesfield’s own range of apple juice.
On Tyntesfield’s abandoned tennis court and a hidden corner of the arboretum, London Fieldworks will present two new intriguing architectural interventions constructed in collaboration with the Somerset Bodgers and the Tyntesfield volunteers.
The National Trust’s contemporary art and craft programme - Trust New Art - is taking place at selected historic houses, countryside and garden properties across England. It connects more people to National Trust places through contemporary art and craft. It has been developed as part of a partnership with Arts Council England.
The National Trust’s Project Curator Ruth Gooding says of the Somerset exhibitions: “The works are all found in spaces that are to some extent hidden or unused - an abandoned tennis court, an unused Aviary, a hidden glen and often overlooked ornamental gardens.
“Rather than being kept a respectful distance away, visitors will be able to get up close to the art, touch it and see how it affects them and discuss that with our guides and the volunteers at Tyntesfield. In these intriguing spaces the artists have seized the opportunity to design a world within a world – a future paradise which might be sustainable, utopian or even otherworldly.”
Less than five miles away, near the heart of Bristol, Leigh Woods plays host to a collaboration between the Arnolfini and architecture and design collective Assemble, who have been commissioned to explore the potential of the site as a space for experimental play.
The series of site-specific sculptural installations called Paradise is organised in association with The Promise, a curated series of commissions by Arnolfini which explores the relationship between a city and its residents arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/the-promise
The art exhibition, at Tyntesfield, Wraxall (BS48 1NX) and at Leigh Woods near Bristol, runs until 2 November. Tyntesfield normal admission prices (free to members) including gift aid: Adult £14.60; Child £7.30; Family £36.50; Leigh Woods – free.
nationaltrust.org.uk/tyntesfield or trustnewartbristol.co.uk