Otherworldly features sculpture that explores elsewhere; the microscopic, the cosmic and the interplanetary. Constructors of spaceships, planets and satellites have been parking their creations for the duration of this year’s exhibition at Burghley Sculpture Garden. As well as scientists of the molecular, creators of sci-fi quirks and observers of the minuscule. The exhibition spans our world and the known existence; exploring the geological, the celestial, and the extra-terrestrial.
‘Begin at the beginning’ exhorted the King in Alice in Wonderland, and so we shall with the smaller of earthly details. A tiny thing that sustains the explosion of life on the earth’s land: namely pollen. Wrought in steel by Joanne Risley, her Pollen Bomb is a spiked rendering reminiscent of mines. Natural forms also play a part in Dallas Collins’ Leaf Pylon has two conical speakers atop that listen to the trees, to nature and the cosmic background radiation still emanating from the Big-Bang. Composed of cast aluminium sections, the tower also exudes authority and control. Yet, there is something earthly to its listening devices, which are carpeted in leaves.
Many of the sculptures on show are vehicular with Andy Hazell’s Interplanetary Taxi a prime example. It landed in the epicentre of the garden’s elliptical amphitheatre prior to its next cosmic trip. Inside is an orrery to guide the captain around the universe. This sculpture is fully driveable, adept at negotiating the narrowest of cosmic alleyways thanks to the Japanese Kei-car regulations that stipulate a maximum width of 58 inches. Thus, the Daihatsu Hi-jet chassis ably supports the 59 inch wide Gazelle helicopter forming the space traveller.
If Star Wars inspired sculpture are your thing, then best call Stamford’s very own engineering and YouTube genius, Colin Furze. On this occasion, our intrepid tie-wearing inventor has created a ‘life-size’ Tie Silencer; Kylo Ren’s choice of interstellar get-about. 17m long, the agile space warrior has hovered to ground to create a menacing scorpion-like presence of the dark side. Furze’s creation is the ultimate Star Wars merchandise, without the reduction of scale required by most toys. Rather, this is, a Tie Silencer; brooding, malevolent and ready to fly off into battle.
Whilst Colin Furze channels Star Wars, Jim Unsworth appears to be on team Tolkien. The Delights Of Eden is an architectural house of a sculpture straight from the land of fairy tales, elves and pixies; bedecked with Gandalf’s pointed hat. The sculpture grows tree-like, bending and lilting with the charm of an illustrator’s whim. Unsworth’s sculpture also harks back to a time of polychrome sculpture, where all surfaces would have been painted. His, is an Abstract Expressionist’s dream of dots, dashes, splodges, spots and stripes. Created nearly twenty years ago the sculpture displays the patina of age; its surfaces veiled with the memory of colour.
The moon of course features in many human attempts to capture our solar system through the arts in all their guises: from the Asian story of the Moon Rabbit to werewolves and the books of Johannes Kepler, Cyrano de Bergerac and Jules Vernes to name but a few authors of lunar tomes. Of course, we have ‘the man in the moon’ too, and at Burghley he is charging up the ladder to get to work in The Moon Polisher by Pete Rogers. This somewhat cheeky sculpture also features a group of impertinent mice at its rear, eating the cheese from which the moon is of course made.
One sculpture bridging world’s large and small is Ben Rowe’s Lost in Time and Space: Beacon 52.64 – 0.44. This intriguing wooden structure is reminiscent of satellites, models of chemical compounds, viruses and even jumping jacks. Notwithstanding its rich references, his star burst of a sculpture is a beacon that marks a point in time and space. In this case, the latitude and longitude of its Burghley residence. Its origins and exact purpose remain a mystery, the time of action or its issuing of commands – unknown.
If you fancy solving this mystery, why not pop along to the sculpture garden where you can travel the known universe and beyond, all from the comforts of PE9. Visitors will be able to enjoy a multitude of creations from other worlds; both real and imagined.
Other exhibitors include Mark Beattie, Kevin Hope, Connor Hurford, Darius Martisius, John McDonald, Michael Marriot, Denis O’Connor and Kirsty E Smith.
The Sculpture Garden at Burghley House is open daily from 11-5.