Jupiter Artland – A Garden of Discovery

15 May 2010

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Jupiter Artland is an exciting sculpture park set in a private estate in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Containing work by today’s leading sculptors and land artists, this amazing garden of discovery re-opens to the public today for a short time.  If you are not sure how to get there, you may not want to follow the signpost by Peter Liversidge in the middle of the garden.

 The idea of the garden is to enable people to discover, delight and contemplate.  Visitors are given a map to help guide them through the exhibits but there are no set routes for them to follow.  Although there are pathways (British health and safety rules would no doubt close the place if there weren’t) there are no set routes to follow.  The visitor must discover for themselves.

Although all of the works at Jupiter Artland are striking to say the least perhaps the most immediate is the set of five weeping girls by sculptor Laura Ward.  These life size representations of a pre-teenage tantrum were inspired by a daughter of a friend of the artist.  While inconsolable the child kept peeking in to a mirror to gauge the effect that she was having on her audience.

To turn a corner and come face to face with a weeping girl is a peek in to the high drama of childhood upsets.  Cast in bronze from wax models these five statues fit in perfectly with their surroundings.  Alone, bewildered and upset, would you stop to console the child or pass in a fit of adult embarassment?


Art within the landscape is at the centre of the garden’s raison d’etre.  Each piece of artwork is created with its exact location in mind and the relationship of the piece with its surroundings is of paramount importance. Just as the natural surroundings change, so does the art.  Andy Goldsworthy's stone coppice places large rocks from another work on to coppiced trees (only those able to bear the weight of course).

This particular installation will be monitored closely as the trees grow and it is hoped that a further round of stones will be put in to place in around ten years. It is designed to show the strength and power in the relationship between trees and stone.  When fully matured, with the coppiced trees bringing up new growth around the stone then this installation should look remarkable - or even more so than at present.

One of the larger installations at Jupiter Artland is Charles Jencks’ Life Mounds. These eight remarkable terraced earthworks upon which people can walk and circle their way towards sculptures and inscriptions are connected by a pathway and encircled by four lakes.

Jencks is known for his fascination with nature representing scientific ideas and the theme of Life Mounds is the cell, that basic unit of life and the process of mitosis through which a cell divides.  With representations of the organelles found within cells, Life Forms beautifully succeeds in bringing the macro to the massive.

If this looks a little familiar, you may have seen Jencks more famous installation at his home (also in Scotland) – the Garden of Cosmic Speculation, featured here on Kuriositas recently. If you admire this abstraction of the underlying laws of physics and nature, then Jencks is your man.

Just when you think you have seen the most it all you turn a corner and come across Marc Quinn’s Love Bomb.  It was specially commissioned for Jupiter Artland and from a distance looks astonishing enough.  It is only when you get close that you realize that it is twelve metres high.

Quinn’s work is a meditation on our obsession with beauty and the inevitable fact that it is something which cannot be permanently maintained.  Yet here they are – flora frozen together in a moment of botanical perfection.  Outrageous in their enormity yet oddly seductive these flowers represent our propensity to shape the natural world around us in to something which reflects our desires.

By enlarging the flowers to such a huge size Quinn focuses on our dwindling relationship to the natural world around us.

Steven Holl produced this knitted web as an opportunity to the viewer to reflect on their location within the woodland and the landscape as a whole. It is, in effect, a viewing apparatus so that elements of outlook can come together and overlap. It is as much of a map as it is a web – but beware! It is also a snare (if only to capture the essence of the place and its surroundings).

The seemingly ubiquitous Anish Kapoor also has an installation at Jupiter Artworld. Known as Suck it is as likely to stimulate debate about the artist and his work as anything else he has recently produces, including his plans for a massive Orbit Tower for the London 2012 Olympics.

An unsettling seventeen foot square cage is deliberately placed in a most peaceful and secluded section of woodland. When you peer in to the can you can peer in to the void which could suck you in if not for the cage which protects you. Even though it is at ground level it is almost enough to instll in the viewer a fear of heights – or perhaps that should be depth.

These are only a few of the installations at Jupiter Artwork.  Perhaps it is fitting if we leave the place with a work by Ian Hamilton Finlay.  A milestone is placed at either side of a limestone bridge.  One each there is an identical inscription – the last words of EM Forster’s Howard’s Way and an exhortation to the visitor.  Only Connect.

Got this far?  OK - well you may want to look at these: humanity, nature, the arts.  or all three - which is which?

Two Inches To The Right

Poet Mat Lloyd wrote the poem 2 Inches to the Right the morning after he was attacked in his local park.

Fortunately he was near to friends and was rescued by them when they saw him being attacked.

He has performed this in his live sets since then. As violence by and among young people continues to rise it is as relevant now as when it was written.


Return of The Warbler

Over at our sibling site, the Ark In Space, we celebrate the return to the Americas of the Warbler.  Each Spring the woodlands of America resound to the birdsong of returning visitors.

Warblers – fifty three species of them all in all – arrive and right now is the best time to see them as they migrate.  Their arrival heralds a dazzling dash of colour as the greenness of American forests is peppered as if with the ravishing hues of thousands of tiny precious stones.


Pencil Vs Camera

An important project, process and series. The imagination leads the way and where will it end up?

These photos are the reflection of the real world and what is on the paper is perhaps what could happen if imagination were to become a reality.

Certainly where better a place for aliens to circle on their first visit to Earth than the Atomium in Brussels? Clicka da pic...



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