Weekly Witter: Trust in New Art

It has been a big week for art at the National Trust. It is not every day that a Rembrandt is uncovered within one of our historic collections.

However in addition to our collections of historic paintings and sculpture, we have Trust New Art, our ongoing programme of contemporary arts and crafts exhibitions, projects and residencies supported by a partnership with Arts Council England.

“It is very important that we don’t parachute in work from outside that has no resonance with a place.”

Trust New ArtTrust New Art is inspired by the place where it happens. It is very important that we don’t parachute in work from outside that has no resonance with a place. We either commission new work from artists in response to a place, or carefully select existing work that will give people a way to connect with the place’s history and essence. While some people may find the work challenging, it is always inspired by what is special about a place.

We work with artists in many ways. Adrian Utley, from the band Portishead, worked with Sonic Journeys to create a sound walk in response to the ancient trees at Croft Castle and Parkland. Visitors can either download the soundtrack themselves, or use a MP3 player on site until May 2013. For those that can’t make it, a specially commissioned video gives an idea of what inspired Adrian.

The team at Croft have also been working with Meadow Arts to develop Time Will Tell. The atmosphere within the Hereforeshire landscape is beguilingly peaceful – yet there is 800 years of life at Croft Castle to be explored, and even longer looking at the archaeological and geological layers as well. Thirteen artists undertook residencies last year to get to know Croft, and their work is being shown now. For example, Strange Cargo worked with locals and vistors to distil an enigmatic history of private memories and musings in response to Croft, while Clare Burnett commemorates missing gravestones with ghostly sculptures in their place.

At Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire, the stylish design approach of Robert Adam has inspired Studio Weave to create Hear Here which are ‘playful incidents’ in the landscape. These new eyecatchers – only in place until autumn 2013 – draw people through the landscape, encouraging them to stop, listen and discover the aural qualities of this special place. The artists are very clear in this video about how Kedleston inspired them (select number 9 on the playlist).

Some of our places have vibrant arts programmes running through the year. Mottisfont in Hampshire has created a gallery space to help show off their fine collection of 20th-century paintings and have a changing display of temporary exhibitions – currently the London Group at 100. It also hosts artists in residence whose work is displayed through the year, and it will be a key venue in artSOUTH, a new major art event for the region. High Cross House in Devon takes forward the legacy of the Dartington Hall Estate by hosting artists and exhibitions to showcase contemporary creativity in this intimate Modernist setting. Waddesdon Manor, at a completely different scale, regularly show artists of international renown, and this year will be working with Philippa Lawrence and Bruce Munro.

This is just a small selection from the many projects taking place this year. You can keep in touch with Trust New Art through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and our very own blog.

  • Tom Freshwater – Contemporary Arts Programme Manager
  • The Weekly Witter is a regular Monday mouthpiece for our many specialists to talk about what’s on their minds at the moment.

One thought on “Weekly Witter: Trust in New Art

  1. Pingback: Weekly Witter: New acquisitions to complete the picture. | National Trust Press Office

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