Preview: Tatton Park Biennial 2010

Breda Beban, I'll Take It! (2010). Photo courtesy Tatton Park Biennial

Exhibition: Tatton Park Biennial 2010 – Framing Identity, Tatton Park, Knutsford, May 8 – September 26 2010

Stately homes and historic properties may often throw open their doors, but they don’t usually open themselves up to critical interrogation.

For the 2010 Tatton Park Biennial, 21 contemporary artists were invited to respond to the mansion and 1000-acre estate. Details of their work have just been released.

Climate change, pollution and social division are among issues which will soon be closer to home at the Cheshire stately home.

The Park’s second biennial is subtitled Framing Identity, and curators Danielle Arnaud and Jordan Kaplan asked artists to explore the estate’s history and context.

The pair have said that throughout the Summer, Tatton will become “a creative laboratory, where artists’ experiments can bemuse, confuse and provoke visitors”.

A two-tonne block of arctic ice by Neville Gabie and a collection of leaking oil barrels by Jimmie Durham will surely do the trick, as will Clara Ursitti’s chauffeur driven taxi, which looks like an Austin Allegro but smells distinctly like a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.

Austin Houldsworth, meanwhile, has built a 4m tall machine which will fossilise a pineapple from one of the estate’s greenhouses. It is hardly business as usual.

A catalogue to accompany the work has been written by sci-fi guru Brian Aldiss and contemporary art critic Rebecca Geldard.

The National Trust recently announced a focus on contemporary art. Stately homes will be watching Tatton, possibly with some nervousness.

Written for Culture24.

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