A Tale Of Two Outdoor Art Exhibitions

Outdoor art tends to lose its appeal after the summer in the U.K. but when galleries struggle with Covid-19 regulations, art fans are turning to performance clothing to ensure they can still visit. The splashiest exhibition of the year is Anish Kapoor at Houghton Hall in Norfolk. 

The exhibition features 24 sculptures as well as a selection of drawings and smaller works representative of Kapoor’s work over the past 40 years, placed around the grounds of Houghton Hall, which belongs to the Marquess of Cholmondeley. ‘Anish’s reflective pieces are said to throw back to the world in mysterious ways,’ says Lord Cholmondeley, owner of the stately home.

The exhibition at Houghton Hall features some of Kapoor’s major works in mirror and stone, including Sky Mirror (2018) – a 5-metre diameter mirror of stainless steel that reflects and transforms the space around it, turning the world upside down – and a series of carved marble sculptures created between 2001 and 2003 which will be displayed across the grounds. A number of works will also be shown inside the house, including a series of sandstone sculptures which will be presented inside the mansion.

Near Kings Lynn, Houghton is a private home, built in 1720 for Sir Robert Walpole, Britain’s first Prime Minister and is one of the finest examples of Palladian architecture in the country. Due to open in March but delayed due to lockdown, the exhibition runs until November 2. Tickets are timed and include some works that are on display in the house as well as in the grounds. 

At Compton Verney in Warwickshire, street artist Foka Wolf has created eight Folk Art inspired signs across its 120-acre ‘Capability’ Brown parkland, exploring humour and its connection to kindness. Foka Wolf, based in Birmingham and working anonymously, has joined forces with People United, who investigate kindness in the arts and its influence on prosocial behaviour.

Compton Verney opened to the public as a major, nationally accredited art gallery in March 2004 after Sir Peter Moores, through the Peter Moores Foundation bought the site. The museum houses permanent collections that focus on areas currently under-represented in British museums and galleries.

Foka Wolf’s collaboration is influenced by local people’s experience of social solidarity during lockdown and the role of humour as a tool for empathy and resilience. Appropriately, Compton Verney is also the home of the largest collection of British Folk Art in the UK. The exhibition will run until October 23.

Wolf says “I am hoping to bring about some positivity through these installations and I can’t wait for people to see what we have created.”

Compton Verney’s Julie Finch, CEO-Director adds:  “At this momentous time we want Compton Verney to enhance wellbeing and creativity, fire the imagination, and be a place of solace – and this project is ideal for speaking to all that. We also want to support the creative economy and the region, so we are really delighted to have worked with Foka Wolf, a local artist, on bringing this project to life.”

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