Escaping London for Somerset & Wiltshire

As you know last week we made it over to France to finally get back to our Val d’Isere site, driving on to my home in the Alps, Ferme de Moudon. It was the first trip in months and it felt utterly wonderful to be back in the mountains.

After a busy week in the studio last weekend we headed down to Somerset first thing Saturday, to meet one of the team who is usually based in Paris. I had been so looking forward to exploring Hauser & Wirth and of course The Newt just a few minutes down the road, just about two and a half hours from home in Pimlico. After a coffee at Roth Bar and Grill the galleries restaurant, we headed into the gallery and gardens before enjoying a fabulous lunch in their restaurant.

Above, An installation titled ‘Black Granite’

The gallery was hosting two exhibitions. Above ‘SCARCH’ is a solo exhibition by Not Vital, organised with Olivier Renaud-Clément and Giorgia von Albertini. The multidisciplinary exhibition highlights the Swiss artist’s deep-rooted interest in the relationship between architecture, landscape and human perception. A twist on words, sculpture and architecture, ‘SCARCH’.

Don McCullin, The Stillness of Life

In Somerset, ‘Don McCullin. The Stillness of Life’ is a presentation of over 60 landscape photographs, mapping the photographers intimate relationship with the local landscape of Somerset and continued passion for global travel since the 60s. Don McCullin is regarded as one of the most accomplished war photographers of recent times McCullin has spent the last six decades travelling to remote locations and witnessing harrowing scenes of conflict and destruction.

Often referring to the British countryside as his greatest salvation, McCullin demonstrates the full mastery of his medium with stark black and white images resonating with human emotion. This personal survey depicts scenes from across the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia, revealing McCullin’s innermost feelings through powerful compositions of wild heavens, haunting vistas and meditative still lifes.

No visit to Hauser & Wirth is complete without a walk through Piet Oudolf’s magnificent garden, walk up to the The Radić Pavilion installed at the top of the garden, designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radić. This unique structure was first unveiled as the Serpentine Gallery 2014 Pavilion.

We enjoyed a beautiful lunch inside Roth Bar & Grill before jumping in the car down to The Newt.

You’ll remember we’ve written about The Newt before when it first opened but over this first year some magnificent additions have been made. As you arrive at the Threshing Barn once you’ve purchased your ticket, make a booking to visit ‘The Story of Gardening’, a new museum space at the end of The Viper raised treetop walkway. There is of course so much to see here but this exhibition is quite visually outstanding.

The hotel in the distance, currently only open to hotel residents, the spa looks wildly indulgent if you haven’t seen the photos recently in the press.

That evening we drove on to Dorset to stay with friends. The following morning we drove back to London via Messums to view the exhibition by sculptor Elizabeth Frink, which as coincidence has it, where we were staying with friends the night before was directly opposite her former studio which sadly was completed just after she passed away.

The working world of Elisabeth Frink was a resurrection of her Woolland studio in their historic tithe barn. The studio, which Messums rescued from collapse in 2019, has been reconstructed to display a collection of original plasters alongside tools and objects salvaged from Woolland, providing a never seen before insight into one of Britain’s foremost sculptors.

Elisabeth Frink lived and worked at Woolland, Dorset from 1977 up until her death aged 63 in 1993, and her studio there bore witness to over a decade of prolific drawing and sculpting.  Partnering with renowned architects Stiff + Trevillion, the studio has been revived as an exhibition space displaying works from Frink’s studio and elements of her working practice and environment.

The exhibition is open until the 18th October 2020

Messsums Wiltshire, Place Farm, Court St, Tisbury, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP3 6LW

Hauser & Wirth, Durslade Farm, Dropping Ln, Bruton BA10 0NL

The Newt, Hadspen, Bruton, Castle Cary BA7 7NG

July 2020, Nicky’s World