Pete (pjc50) wrote,
Pete
pjc50

Jupiter Artland

A few weeks ago we went to this strangely named attraction to the west of Edinburgh. It's a collection of large pieces dispersed about a wood, and on a fine sunny day it was lovely to walk around and take in the art among the natural beauty.

I thought I'd write about my responses to the pieces such as I remember. There's the whimsical signpost to Jupiter, for example.

Anthony Gormley's "Firmament" stands out nicely against the sky. Sort of a wireframe cousin to the Angel of the North. Very insubstantial feeling for a steel structure; shades of deformed Buckysphere and rusted futurism. My brother is a fan of Gormley and has taken a lot of photos of his work, which tends to produce nice light patterns on nearby surfaces.

"The Light Pours out of me": looks expensive. Alien jagged surfaces. Amethyst comes up beautifully in the sun, but while looking at it you're in a pit. Actually, making a square pit and surrounding it with obsidian is such a Minecraft thing to do I can't help but wonder whether the artist was aware of the game. The narrow access trench is much narrower than any normal architectural feature, contributing to the hostility.

"Rivers": nice place for a boathouse. The structure is lit by sun reflecting off the water into the building from beneath, which then refracts through all the glassware. The river bottles aren't labelled; is this to convey that water is all the same once removed from context? Probably one of these things where the collection process would have made a good travelogue by itself.

"Temple of Apollo": perfectly conventional country garden folly. It's just unusual that someone would make one in the present day, given that it belongs so solidly to the classical revival. It's a good vantage point to look at the Xth muse, and recall "where burning Sappho loved and sung". Having read up on Ian Hamilton Findlay, I think I'd like to see more of his work. Trained at Glasgow School of Art, victim of recent fire.

"Weeping girls": Dr Who terror of the week. They don't have faces. Are they playing hide-and-seek or wandering victims of nameless catastrophe? Are they inhuman terror in incongruous little girl form? One of them stood, head down, in a natural pool of light between the trees; a fantastic bit of theatrical setting.

As I looked back at them while walking away, she was attended by two middle aged women, no doubt inspecting the construction, but looking for all the world as if they had found her and were going to make sure she was alright.

"Cells of life": now this is a cheerful thing. The artificial rolling very green hills of tellytubby-land or the windows XP background. Artificially organic. We climbed one, because whereever there is a hill humans must go to see what is at the top, and surveyed the scene. A little water feature, railway-like stone channel, feeds the central lake near the miniture stone arch. We sat and watched the swifts wheeling around the field, in constant motion. They strafed the water, gathering its insect life. I'd not seen one in person before; they're beautiful, with their crescent wings and tail, and fast jet flight profile. You wonder how they can feed that constant motion. More recently one circled us in the park, at a distance of a couple of meters, intimate closeup but impossible to track as more than a blur.
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