Estate life depicted in temporary Houghton Hall art display
Famous British sculptor Sir Antony Gormley was one of the visitors to Houghton Hall yesterday to catch what was a fleeting glimpse of a brief artwork display.
The centre of attention was a temporary installation called Estate by London artist Richard Woods. It was taken up again and stored at the end of the day.
Mr Woods said the work, which was displayed previously in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, was something he visualised as a line drawing of a house.
The image, which was created in black fabric strips and one hundred metres in length, was inspired by historical earthworks carved into the countryside like the Uffington White Horse.
And like the Uffington Horse it is seen in it’s true perspective only from the air which is why the top of Houghton Hall was a good vantage point to see the finished work.
Mr Woods said: “I saw this incredible house and thought I’d love to have an art installation next to it. It’s an amazing piece of architecture.
"I like the idea of something that is so temporary that’s next to this extraordinary house that’s taken hundreds of years to be built.”
Sir Antony praised it, saying it was a brilliant piece of work.He interpreted it as a pertinent social comment.
He said: “Quietly he is reminding us that we live in a world in which people occupy very different estates.”
He likened the work to the 18th century Palace of Versailles where, after it became the seat of government at one time had, at its peak, 60,000 residents from all walks of life.
Lord Cholmondeley was equally enthralled.“It’s wonderful to have a work like this,” he said.
“We met at an art event in Cheshire;we both come from Cheshire .He asked if he could install it here.
"We had a timing issue because of the Henry Moore show here which was onlyremoved last week.”
Lord Cholmondeley said they tried to do artworks whenever they could whether they were permanent or temporary or loans.
Acknowledging the historically important masterpieces in the hall, by artists such as Van Dyck, Franz Hals and Rubens, he added, “We’ve been at it for twenty years or so with the contemporary art in the grounds and now we’ve got four, five, six shows behind us.”
The Houghton installation was funded by Norwich University of the Arts and a group of Master of Arts students travelled to the hallfor the day to lay out the installation.
The latest display follows popular exhibitions of paintings by Damien Hirst and sculptures by Henry Moore, which both attracted many visitors to the estate.