Cass Sculpture Park & Foundation

Wendy Ramshaw’s Gate announces the entrance to the Cass Sculpture Foundation. Its circular form, full of abstract line and symbol, bears the number five, representing the first five years of the foundation.

Whilst on a recent client visit outside of London, Nicky took some time to visit the magnificent Cass Sculpture Foundation in Goodwood, West Sussex.

Cass Sculpture Foundation was founded in 1992 by Wilfred and Jeannette Cass. Their mission was to provide support for artists to achieve new levels of ambition in the field of large-scale sculpture. The result is a pioneering not-for-profit organisation that inspires, enables and presents the output of some of the most important figures in contemporary sculpture.

Phillip King, Sun’s Roots II, 2008, Painted steel

Today CASS is a multifaceted organisation with a rich heritage. It consists of a commissioning body, a centre for education and exhibition  programming and a provider of consultancy services.

Passionately committed to nurturing new as well as established talent, the organisation commissions new works every year. The 26 acre grounds are consequently home to a constantly evolving display that has included sculptures by Anthony Caro, Eduardo Paolozzi, Rachel Whiteread, Tony Cragg, Antony Gormley and Sara Barker amongst others. CASS supports its commissioned artists at every step of the process, from conception to fabrication, exhibition and sale. As such, it provides exceptional opportunities for sculptors in the UK as well as internationally, and at varying stages in their careers.

Danny Lane, Stairway 2005, Glass, Steel, 600 x 190 x 418 cm, Edition of 6
Lane’s Stairway makes bold references to both art history, particularly Brancusi’s endless column, and the historical symbol of Jacob’s Ladder. This is the symbolic pathway one should follow in order to secure entry into heaven, commonly referred to as a ‘stairway to heaven.’ Without a landing, Stairway seems to stretch on into infinity and, in combination with its luminous surface, enables it as such a pathway. Lane has etched the glass surfaces to refract light, giving the illusion that this work is lightly covered in water and evoking ideas of impasse; that the ‘stairway’ is not always easily navigable.

CASS is funded by sculpture sales, consultancy and philanthropy. All the works on display are available for sale, with proceeds split equally between the artist and the organisation in order to fund new commissions. In the past 26 years, CASS has invested in almost 300 Artists.

Right, by David Annesley, Mandala Eighty is inspired by a series of drawings made by a psychiatric patient of Dr Carl G. Jung in the 1960s. These drawings were based on mandala’s and a selection of which are published in ‘archetypes of the collective unconscious’ by C. J. Jung. Mandala is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning circle, polygon, community or connection and is a symbol used in various religions, particularly Buddhism.

Left, Zadok Ben-David, Exotic Tree is set within a wooded glade Exotic Tree creates an illusory sense of the fantastical or mysterious. Tiny, silhouetted figures are just visible within the boughs of the three-metre tall steel form. Part of the artist’s series of Inner scape sculptures, which play upon the idea of worlds existing within a larger subject matter, the work addresses imagination, the realm of dreams and the relationship between man and nature.

Song Ta’s ‘Why do they never take colour photos’. This humorous installation centres on a political figure that has become synonymous with China itself, both nationally as well as internationally. The work consists of a grey, large-scale bust of Chairman Mao, copied from a well-known sculpture ubiquitously seen throughout China and transported to the grounds of the Cass Sculpture Park.

Jake and Dinos Chapman ‘The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth but not the Mineral Rights’ comprises of three large-scale sculptural dinosaurs entitled The GoodThe Bad and The Ugly. Towering at over 8 metres, these impressive corten steel works are a development from an earlier installation, Hell 65 Million Years BC.

The title is a quote by the oil and art tycoon J. Paul Getty who appropriated and extended the biblical verse The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth, which promotes the civilised and respectful manner of setting goals and fulfilling them, into a cynical reflection on the necessary grind of capitalist and empirical expansion. Resembling a make-your-own children’s play kit these dinosaurs appear ostensibly clumsy and lovable, however aligned with this title they signal the humour, and deceptive quality of first impressions, commonly associated with the Chapmans.

The Foundation suggest you leave at least 2 hours to discover the grounds when visiting.

Cass Sculpture Foundation
New Barn Hill, Goodwood
West Sussex
PO18 0QP

Nicky’s World May 2019