Jupiter Artland revisited

Life Mounds by Charles Jencks
Life Mounds by Charles Jencks
Two years ago, we visited the sculpture park Jupiter Artland for the first time, and a revisit was beginning to feel overdue as we knew some of the exhibits had changed. When we were there in May, the park was celebrating its nomination as a finalist for Art Fund Museum of the Year – since then the prize has gone to the V&A in London, but there’s obviously no disgrace in losing to that sort of competition.

Bonnington House

I’ll try not to reproduce too much of what I wrote in my original post in 2014, but if you missed that you might want to check it out too. One major change was at Bonnington House, the owners’ home, which had a new wing. The original house is Jacobean and the ballroom extension is seamless.

You approach the ballroom through a pretty garden with doocot (dovecot) and a view of Nathan Coley’s sculpture You imagine what you desire.

Inside, prepare to be stunned by the ceiling – a regular design with added motifs suggested by the children of the house. Here, a skull peeps through the foliage. The baskets are a temporary exhibition by Ditte Gantriis.

Gala Hill Loop

A path winds round Gala Hill and Forest. Here are some of the highlights.

A Forest by Jim Lambie. Can you spot us?
A Forest by Jim Lambie. Can you spot us?

Firmament by Anthony Gormley
Firmament by Anthony Gormley

Over Here by Shane Waltener
Over Here by Shane Waltener
I devoted substantial galleries to Laura Ford’s Weeping Girls and Ian Hamilton Finlay’s Xth Muse and Temple of Apollo in my first post about Jupiter Artland, so head over there if you want to see more.

Piss Flowers

Yes, really! This temporary exhibition by Helen Chadwick consists of casts of the interior spaces left in the snow by warm urine. According to the guide, this typifies Chadwick’s work – “aesthetic beauty created out of an alliance of unconventional, often vile, materials”. What do you think?

The lawn where the Piss Flowers are arranged is very close to the café area. I’m quite glad we had enjoyed our delicious falafel salads before visiting them. The café has indoor and outdoor seating areas – the caravan provides drinks and there is a kitchen behind it, so it’s not as rudimentary as it might look.

After lunch, we explored the other side of the park. Here are more highlights.

Orchard and meadow

New in the orchard are these ladders – A Variety of Cultures by Alec Finlay. Placed near the young trees, they indicate the extent their pruned canopies will eventually fill. In the background, you can see Mark Quinn’s Love Bomb, of which more later. Crossing the wildflower meadow brings you to Ian Hamilton Finlay’s five Beehives, very topical at the moment, inscribed BEES; they lightly skim; and gently sip; the dimply river’s brim; BOATS. Nearby is Cornelia Parker’s Nocturne (a Moon Landing). Fireworks at the park’s opening in 2009 scattered fragments of moon rock.

Duck pond

The boathouse on the duck pond contains bottles of water (not terribly photogenic) from one hundred British rivers which are listed on panels on the outside wall. I can see the Clyde and the Tyne, two significant rivers for me. Sara Barker’s installation Separation in the evening (a celestial blossom before the yellow house) is new since our last visit.

Life Mounds

We enjoyed Charles Jencks’ Life Mounds better last time because it was quieter and you could take the paths to the top to appreciate an overall view and the summit inscriptions (once again, see previous post). However, it’s obviously a great place for families to hang out and have fun – even if most were not adhering to the “no running, climbing or rolling on mounds” rule, and damaging tracks were beginning to appear. You can probably sense me rolling my eyes and tutting, and are muttering “killjoy” under your breath!

Love Bomb

Marc Quinn’s Love Bomb, which sneaked into an earlier shot, is a 12-metre tall orchid (the design has been laser-printed onto vinyl and adheres to a stainless steel structure) described as “at once monstrous and seductively beautiful, demonstrating the ways in which human desires are now shaping the natural world”. I love its colours.

The animals

Finally, before we left we stopped at the animals’ field – cute donkeys, alpacas and sheep.

At £8.50 for adult entrance, Jupiter Artland is a great-value day out. This was meant to be a quick highlights post, but I’ve run on longer than I meant to – there are just so many interesting sculptures in the park, and there are more I haven’t shown you. Do you have a favourite?


48 thoughts on “Jupiter Artland revisited

  1. TanGental July 11, 2016 / 12:38

    I love this; as indeed all sculpture parks which are a great addition to the overall landscape. Needless to say Piss Flowers had me immediately. What an extraordinary idea! And so Glasgow (even if in Edinburgh) (says the soft southerner with stereotypical condescension!) Thanks Anabel; it’s on our list for the next visit to Edinburgh.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Anabel Marsh July 11, 2016 / 12:47

      Thanks Geoff – though Helen Chadwick, who made the Piss Flowers, was actually from Croydon! I didn’t know, till I looked it up just there, that she died in 1996 aged only 42. The flowers are from 1992. Anyway, a visit is definitely recommended – there is a direct bus from Edinburgh.

      Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental July 11, 2016 / 14:21

        Yes Croydon makes sense. It’s in the top 10 worst towns in the UK though I read last week the National Trust are planning walking tours of its streets to showcase the range of brutalist architecture.


  2. findingnyc July 11, 2016 / 13:50

    What a great variety of art! Beautiful, interesting, and some that challenge as well. Always a great combination to me. Now I’m off to read your earlier post, as I wasn’t following you yet at that time.


  3. Pit July 11, 2016 / 14:10

    Interesting exhibits, Anabel, and some of them are even creative art. Not so, to my mind, these Piss Flowers are not art at all. What’s the really creative work the so-called “artist” has done there. Are we really meant to believe that she directed her stream like a Michelangelo his brush? Sorry, but that’s my opinion about much that is called “art” nowadays.
    Have a wonderful week,


    • Anabel Marsh July 11, 2016 / 14:38

      Well, you have to give her credit for an unusual concept! Other than that, I think we should draw a veil over the details……

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pit July 11, 2016 / 14:41

        I agree: let’s draw a veil over the details. No need to watch that art in the making. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Suzanne et Pierre July 11, 2016 / 14:15

    Seems like a lovely place to visit and you had a beautiful day for it…Nice pics & story. (Suzanne)


    • Anabel Marsh July 11, 2016 / 14:38

      Thanks Suzanne! This was when we still had summer which has now deserted us.


  5. Sarah Ferguson and Choppy July 11, 2016 / 15:08

    This looks like an amazing place – though I think I, too, would have been happy to have eaten prior to the flowers!


  6. Heyjude July 11, 2016 / 17:51

    I can see this being a great place for a day out, interesting art though the piss flowers really are taking the… piss. So much art today is merely a concept – I mean I like the idea behind the ladders, but really? Art? My preference is the Airstream silver bullet caravan. Oh, what’s that? That’s not an installation? It is about the only thing I’d want to take home 😀


    • Anabel Marsh July 11, 2016 / 17:58

      In context, it’s spectacular. I like the vulgarity of the orchid but it would dwarf my garden. Maybe a weeping girl would look good though…… 😉


      • Heyjude July 11, 2016 / 18:01

        Yes, I did quite like the weeping girl. Don’t like the orchid much.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Helen C July 11, 2016 / 18:06

    Thank you for telling us this great place, Anabel. I can see myself enjoying the happily walking there. One question though: no duck in the duck pond? Or I have missed it..
    Have a nice day.


    • Anabel Marsh July 11, 2016 / 18:19

      Thanks Helen – strangely, we didn’t see any ducks! Last time we visited there was a peacock, and we didn’t see him either 😦

      Liked by 1 person

    • Anabel Marsh July 11, 2016 / 19:15

      Quite a lot of creative people! Also the owners who were creative enough to have the idea and carry it out.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. ms6282 July 11, 2016 / 18:51

    Have I said this before? But I definitely want to visit this place. Looks like serious competition for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Saw it featured on the BBC2 arts programme on Friday night which was about the Museum of the Year award. I thought that giving it to the V and A was rather unimaginative. Think they should give the award to less established venues, or those out of the big Smoke, personally.


    • Anabel Marsh July 11, 2016 / 19:17

      Oh no, I didn’t notice that was on! That would have been interesting. I agree the V&A has huge advantages with its size and budget – but maybe it got the award for a specific exhibition? I would prefer to have seen something more original win otherwise.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Liesbet July 11, 2016 / 19:25

    The boat house, duck pond and garden are very photogenic. What a beautiful day and interesting destination. There is always so much to see and photograph on your outings, Anabel. What a joy going on these trips with you. My favorites are the “Over Here” spiderweb (very original) and the colorful Love Bomb. I did have a very hard time spotting you in “the forest”!

    Liesbet @ Roaming About


  10. helenmackinven July 11, 2016 / 21:43

    I’ve been once before a couple of years ago and your pics make me want to return this summer…


    • Anabel Marsh July 11, 2016 / 21:54

      Yes, I think 2 years is a good amount of time to leave between visits. Enough had changed and I’d forgotten some bits.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. anotherday2paradise July 11, 2016 / 21:54

    So much artwork to take in, Anabel. The Weeping Girl looks so very sad. Thanks for the tour.


    • Anabel Marsh July 11, 2016 / 22:01

      Thanks. Apparently they are based on a child having a tantrum and peeking to see if anyone was impressed rather than on any great sadness! I felt better about them when I read that.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Su Leslie July 11, 2016 / 22:20

    It looks wonderful. I read that Jupiter Artland was a finalist, and did wish it would win (even though I’ve never been there). Like others, I think the V&A probably has a bit of an unfair advantage in size and budget. So, another place for my list when I finally get back to Scotland for a visit. Thanks for sharing this Anabel.


    • Anabel Marsh July 11, 2016 / 22:35

      It is wonderful, though both times we have had beautiful weather which helps. One couple has driven the whole thing, so yes – that’s a bit more impressive than teams of staff at the V&A I agree.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Becky B July 12, 2016 / 08:51

    Stunning . . .really like ‘Over Here’ and that ceiling is wonderful. I’d be tutting with you but my inner child would secretly be wanting to roll down those mounds!
    Now off to find your first post 🙂


  14. Ann Coleman July 12, 2016 / 15:05

    What a fabulous place! If it is half as nice as it looks in the photos, Jupiter Artland looks like a wonderful place to spend a day. As impressive as the house is, I liked the art displays even more. Thanks for sharing this.


  15. Jessica (Diverting Journeys) July 13, 2016 / 14:18

    That skull ceiling is exactly the sort of thing I’d have in my house if I was rich, but I’m not convinced by those piss flowers. You’d think more of them would be in the shape of people’s names…I thought that’s what guys did when they peed in the snow!


  16. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor July 14, 2016 / 12:50

    That looks like a great day out! I absolutely love that ceiling especially the skull hidden in there. Very fun and whimsical.


    • Anabel Marsh July 14, 2016 / 15:16

      Thanks Ellen – whimsical is a good word to describe it.


  17. Birgit July 14, 2016 / 16:45

    People have no respect when it comes to their brats having a go on the lawn. Just because they have kids doesn’t mean the kids have the right of way everywhere. I hate that! On the other hand I am loving this sculpture everywhere and think the abstract one where I just saw you is my favourite but I also love the orchid one. I love the interior shot and the skull peeking out representing death is always near.


  18. jazzfeathers July 22, 2016 / 07:54

    This is such a beautiful place. As for the art, some I liked, some less so, but art is such a personal experience, don’t you think?

    I would have never come up with the idea of the Piss Flowers. You know, I think sometimes art rests in the idea, in the innovative way you look to an old thing. So yeah, I think they are art. And let’s face it, the mere idea gets a reaction from us. That’s what art is supposed to do 😉


    • Anabel Marsh July 22, 2016 / 08:37

      Yes, I agree that there are concepts there that are simple but still “art”. And though there are some I didn’t like much (or understand) I feel they all worked in the context of a park for enjoying yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

I'd love to hear what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s