Large-scale sculptural installation offers captivating insight into Biddulph Grange Garden's fascinating geological history
A bold new sculptural installation featuring two four-metre structures will take centre stage in the spectacular landscaped gardens of Biddulph Grange in Staffordshire. Entitled ‘Curious Formations’, this new work is a striking contemporary artistic response to the National Trust property’s fascinating geological history.
Created by international artist Jo Lathwood, the two wooden structures have been designed to resemble feldspar, a crystal that is found in many rocks in the 19th century Geological Gallery at the Victorian garden. Visitors can peer through a window in the structures which has polarized filters causing light to diffract, creating a similar effect to viewing rock samples under a microscope. Looking through the window, the artwork and the space around it will completely transform into ‘a geometric, solar universe of forms, iridescent and infused with colour.’
Lathwood was inspired by the interests of James Bateman, owner of Biddulph from 1841 to 1868. Bateman was a plant collector and the co-creator of the gardens and the Geological Gallery, the latter being conceived to convince visitors of his theories that combined new geological finds with the Christian story of creation. The gallery, closed for many years, is now open and currently undergoing a major restoration project which is due to complete in 2018.
The artist’s previous work, which includes studies into rock structure, its formation and experiments into molten rock forms, are closely aligned with the story of Biddulph and its history of geological research and exhibition. Curious Formations is an artistic response to the stories of the gallery, gardens and Bateman’s beliefs.
Curious Formations is part of Trust New Art – the National Trust’s programme of projects developed in partnership with Arts Council England, making new works by established and emerging artists available in unique and historic settings.