Friday, July 20, 2012

July 16, Claygate, Surrey

Today we drove up to Ham House, a National Trust property on The Thames just above Richmond. The gardens there are host to “Garden of Reason” a contemporary art exhibit. This is me installed atop one of four metal staircases that form “Compass” an installation by Brazilian artist Alexandre de Cunha. The staircases form a pedestal like those supporting conventional sculptures. By climbing it the viewer becomes a part of the artwork and the landscape.
Ham House is in the background. Built in 1610, it’s distinctive among British great houses for its having escaped a neo-classical makeover in the 18th century. The interior remains Jacobean, dark, secretive—most fitting for the home of Lady Dysart, who built her career on spy work for ex iledroyalists during the reign of Oliver Cromwell.
You know you’re in England by the strange signage: “Male Toilettes” reads the indicator in the Heathrow customs hall, raising the spectre of bathroom fixtures sprouting facial hair; on the way to Ham House we are enjoined to be watchful  at crossings frequented by Humped Pelicans.

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