New works unveiled as David Nash exhibition at Kew Gardens launches next phase
David Nash at Kew
A Natural Gallery - Supported by Xstrata
Saturday 13 October 2012 - Sunday 14 April 2013
A series of new works by sculptor David Nash, created on site at Kew Gardens using Kew trees, will be officially exhibited from 13 October, as his major exhibition enters its next phase.
David Nash, one of the UK’s most renowned sculptors, has been working on a ‘wood quarry’ in Kew’s arboretum since April 2012. Using trees, largely from Kew, he has created a series of brand new sculptures which will be installed in the gallery spaces across the Gardens. The new sculptures, along with a number of drawings and short films, form an exciting new chapter, in what has already been a very well received exhibition.
David Nash and Kew make a perfect partnership; they both aim to inspire visitors to understand their place in the natural world. Nash’s philosophy places particular emphasis on the fundamental role that nature plays in humanity’s existence. He sees the environment as our ‘outer skin’; we are not separate from it or its master – everything that we do impacts upon it. His work results in sculptures in which idea and material have a deep mutual sympathy, and retain some of the essence of their original form. The location of the sculptures within Kew’s landscape, both exterior and interior, also reinforces this sense of sympathy, as the sculptures sit side by side with the natural environment.
Many of the new works have been inspired by David Nash’s residency at Kew, where he has had the opportunity to learn more about Kew’s scientific research into plants, and has been able to gain a deeper understanding of the properties of trees. Nash says, “I have had the opportunity to see a side of Kew that visitors don’t. I have a deep interest in trees and many questions about them, but I haven’t had access to the specialist expertise that an institution like Kew offers before. For the first time, I’ve been able to look down a microscope and see the intricate structure of wood in Kew’s Wood Anatomy Laboratory; this has really helped me to see new possibilities for form in my sculptures – I’m a responsive artist, I always let the individual characteristics of the tree guide me, as I try to bring out the essence of these natural forms.”
With access to Kew’s Economic Botany Collection, which holds 83,000 objects, Nash has discovered hidden treasures which illustrate the extent of man’s reliance on plants. The huge variety of objects within the collection range from artefacts made from plants, to raw plant materials, including a large collection of wood samples. These items, such as a wooden aboriginal ‘passport’ and a cork bowler hat, have stimulated Nash’s imagination and will go on display alongside his sculptures in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art.
Nash has also visited Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank in Wakehurst, Sussex, to witness the research into seed dispersal. The Millennium Seed Bank is home to millions of seeds, collected from wild plant species around the world and stored in frozen vaults, to safeguard those most at risk for future generations. The influence of this research can be seen in the new sculptures, and a number of these seeds will go on display alongside them.
The installation of the new works represents a change of pace for the exhibition, as the focus moves indoors to Kew’s unique gallery spaces, which can offer a more intimate and introspective viewing experience.
• The Nash Conservatory
From October, Kew’s regency style conservatory will open to the public, hosting a new large- scale sculpture, complementing the architecture and size of this historic and beautiful building. As they enter, visitors will be met by the towering Cork Spire, made from the bark of cork oak.
• The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art
This contemporary gallery will undergo a transformation in October, as the existing sculptures on display are replaced by a series of new sculptures and drawings, which have been created exclusively for display in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art. This series of explorations, created on-site in the Wood Quarry, are a response to Nash’s growing knowledge of Kew and its scientific work, adding a new dimension to the ongoing exhibition. To illustrate this influence, items from Kew’s Economic Botany Collection, as well as seeds from Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, will go on display alongside the sculptures, encouraging viewers to understand the connections between art and science.
• Temperate House
Not only has David Nash offered new life for Kew’s aging trees, so too has Kew offered Nash an exciting new environment in which to exhibit his existing works, as they are installed in the unique and awe-inspiring surroundings of the largest surviving Victorian glasshouse in the world. The Temperate House is host to some of Nash’s most iconic works. These pieces, placed amid the foliage, enable a narrative to unfold between Kew’s living plants and Nash’s wood-derived sculptures.
• Outdoor sculptures
The Gardens are stunning to visit at any time of year, but there is even more reason to visit Kew this autumn. Not only can you see Nash’s exciting new works, which go on display in Kew’s indoor gallery spaces, but it is also a great time to re-visit Nash’s stunning outdoor sculptures which have taken root across the Gardens. From spring through to summer, the sculptures have responded to the changing cycle of the seasons, evolving and adapting to their environment – come and see how they are now transformed amid rustic and dramatic autumn colour.
• Wood Quarry
At the end of September the Wood Quarry will come to a close, as the works created there will be installed in the gallery spaces across the Gardens. Since April, visitors have been able to see the new works taking shape in this outdoor studio, offering a unique insight into David Nash’s creative process, and the evolving nature of the exhibition. Nash has been steadily working on ‘Cambium Column’, created from an English oak which he has sculpted in situ, and which will remain standing on Cedar Vista for the duration of the exhibition. Nearby, the “scuttlers” or giant limbs of this tree stand upturned, lively and animated in the landscape. The trunk of this enormous oak will slowly begin to turn silver-grey as we head into winter, reflecting the changing seasons in this year-long exhibition.
David Nash says, “It has been wonderful to work and exhibit on the site where many of the trees I have used started their life. To work on the Wood Quarry with Kew’s team of arborists, who share my passion for trees, has been invigorating, their knowledge and understanding has been invaluable to me.
“I’ve always wanted to do a show that would change through the seasons. It is the first time that people have been able to see me at work, and to see my sculptures evolve, which was part of the attraction of collaborating with Kew. I hope visitors will take away with them an understanding of what I mean by a “wood quarry”; it implies the sheer physical effort of extracting the sculpture from the tree, which is akin to mining metal from the earth.”
Tony Kirkham, Head of Kew’s Arboretum says, “It has been a real privilege to work with an artist who first and foremost speaks the language of wood, something that I and my team of arborists can easily relate to. An arboretum is like a family, and it is sad to see a tree that you have nurtured over the years succumb to pests or disease, but David gives our trees a second life. His sculptures encourage us to reassess our environment; he makes us look at trees with new eyes, which is exactly what Kew aims to do.”
Autumn Landscape at Kew
Close to the Wood Quarry, one of Kew’s most popular attractions – the 18 metre high Xstrata Treetop Walkway – presents stunning views across the Gardens and the city’s skyline. These vistas reveal the tranquil Gardens from an entirely unique perspective, and provide excellent views of Kew’s autumn colour, as well as David Nash’s sculptures. Walk a 200 metre circuit up high in the Arboretum’s canopy and observe the autumnal transformation of sweet chestnuts, limes and deciduous oaks, planted in the 18th century. Keen wildlife watchers can spot tawny owls and woodpeckers flitting through the branches, and squirrels foraging for winter supplies. Visitors can explore the structure of trees from root to tip, learning about their fascinating root system in the Rhizotron below ground, before travelling up to the top of the tree’s canopy to explore biodiversity from above.
Kew has published a book to mark this major exhibition:
• David Nash at Kew Gardens
Extensively illustrated, this paperback book gives a unique insight into Nash’s art and life, and encourages readers to engage with the sculptures and their relation to nature.
- Author: Michelle Payne
- Publication date: June 2012
- Price: £15.00 (special offer at Kew £10.00)
- Images from the book are available upon request.
- A special book signing by David Nash will take place on Sat 13 October, 2.00-4.00pm in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art.
- iPad owners can download a digital edition of the book – which has exclusive interactive features, including an exploration of Nash’s Family Tree drawings accompanied by interviews with the artist.
• David Nash: A Natural Gallery
With over 180 colour photographs, this hardback book will celebrate the year-long exhibition at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Stunning photography will document the exhibition in its entirety, allowing outdoor works to be appreciated against the changing seasonal background and showcasing the new works created during the artist’s six-month Kew residency.
In addition, essays will explore different facets of David Nash’s art and practice in relation to the Kew exhibition. Contributors include Dr Christa Lichtenstein, former Professor for Art History at the University of Saarbruken; Professor Timothy Ingold, Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen; Barry Phipps, Interdisciplinary Fellow at Churchill College, University of Cambridge, and writers from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
- Editor: Michelle Payne
- Publication date: March 2013
- Price: £32.00
There is also a smartphone app guide to the exhibition, which includes a map of the sculptures at Kew, as well as more information about many of the works on display. It is now available for iPhone and Android from app stores.
A collection of products inspired by the exhibition are available to buy from the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, Victoria Plaza shop, and from our online shop http://shop.kew.org/david-nash.html. These include a range of limited edition prints, stencils created and signed by Nash, and a collection of products inspired by David Nash's work and ethos featuring exclusive homeware, fascinating book titles and exhibition souvenirs.
Four talks are planned between October 2012 and March 2013. These include two sessions called ‘David Nash in Conversation with...’, where Nash will be joined by guest speakers, including Barry Phipps, Interdisciplinary Fellow at Churchill College, University of Cambridge, on 17 October, and another guest in March. There will also be two talks by Kew experts – Mark Nesbitt from the Economic Botany Collection and Peter Gasson from the Wood Anatomy Laboratory. For details of Adult Education ‘Talks & Courses’ please see http://www.kew.org/learn/talks-courses/
Booked tour: Tree Identification
Is it an oak, an ash, a lime or something exotic? Learn easy ways to identify trees, including the trees used by David Nash for his sculptures.
- Price: £5 per person
- Dates & Time: 3-31 Oct, Wed and Sat, 1pm
- Location: Information Desk, Victoria Gate.
- Advance booking recommended for this very popular tour – phone 020 8332 5604 or email email@example.com.
Free Daily Walking Tours
• David Nash at Kew: A Natural Gallery - See a selection of David Nash’s sculptures set amongst the changing seasons at Kew and find out more about this unique collaboration between the artist and Kew Gardens.
- Dates: Daily until 14 April 2013
- 12noon & 1.30pm until 30 Nov
- 12noon only from 1 Dec to 28 Feb 2013
- 11.30am & 2pm from 1 March to 14 April 2013
• Winter at Kew- An invigorating walk taking in Kew’s beautiful Evergreens and Conifers and selected sculptures from the David Nash exhibition.
- Dates & Times: Daily from 1 Dec- 6 Jan, 1.30pm
• Guide’s choice- Join this mystery tour of Kew as the Guides take you to see their favourite Kew sights and plants and their favourite David Nash sculptures.
- Dates & Times: Daily from 7 Jan - 28 Feb 2013, 1.30pm
- Duration of tours approximately 1 hour.
- Please register with the guide 15 minutes before tour departs
o Tours start and finish at the Guides' Desk, Victoria Plaza, Victoria Gate
- Tours usually take a maximum of 15 people. Due to limited space, groups of 6 or more must pre-book a bespoke tour for which a charge is made. Please call 0208 332 5604 to make a booking
Free Hands on sessions: Charring, Charcoal and Seeds
Drop in and discover how fire is used by both David Nash and by plants.
- Date & Time: 13 Oct- 28 Nov, Wed & Sun, 11.30am- 1.30pm
- Location: Secluded Garden Glasshouse
Notes to Editors:
• Born in 1945, David Nash studied at Kingston College of Art, Brighton College of Art, and Chelsea School of Art.
• David Nash's first solo exhibition was in York in 1973. An artist of international renown, his work is held in private collections and public galleries all over the world including the Guggenheim, Tate and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. At the age of 21, Nash established a base in Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales, and lives and works at Capel Rhiw, a former chapel built in 1863.
• David Nash is represented by:
Annely Juda Fine Art: • Established in 1960 • Specialises in British and International Contemporary, Russian Constructivism and masters of 20th century avant garde. • Represents artists including Anthony Caro, Christo, David Hockney, Leon Kossoff, David Nash and the Estate of Naum Gabo • Forthcoming exhibition: ‘David Nash: Lines and Smudges’ 6 Sep – 6 Oct 2012
Galerie Scheffel GmbH: • Established in 1979 • Specializes in international contemporary art • Founder and curator of the Blickachsen international open air sculpture biennial (www.blickachsen.com) • Represents artists including Magdalena Abakanowicz, Laura Ford, David Nash, Jaume Plensa, Sui Jianguo, and Bernar Venet
Galerie Lelong: • Established in 1981 • Operates galleries in Paris, New York and Zürich • Specialises in International contemporary art• Represents artists including Jannis Kounellis, David Nash, Jaume Plensa, Sean Scully, Kiki Smith and the estates of Barry Flanagan, Joan Miró
For more information please contact the RBG Kew Press Office on 020 8332 5607 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Images are available to download from www.kew.org/press/images. Please contact the press office for the username and password
• For more information on the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art please go to: http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/garden-attractions-A-Z/shirley-sherwood-gallery.htm
• For more information about the Economic Botany Collection please go to: http://www.kew.org/collections/ecbot/
• The collection can be found in Museum No. 1: http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/garden-attractions-A-Z/museum-no.1.htm
• For more information about Kew's Millennium Seed Bank please go to: http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/save-seed-prosper/millennium-seed-bank/
|Dates||GATES CLOSE (Last entry 1/2 hour before)||Glasshouses & Galleries||Climbers & Creepers||Treetop Walkway (Last entry 1/4 hour before)||Guided tours |
Thur 13 Sept to Sat 27 Oct 2012
|6pm||5:30pm||10:30am - 5:30pm||5:30pm||11am & 1:30pm|
Sun 28 Oct 2012 to Fri 1 Feb 2013
|4:15pm||3:45pm||10:30am - 3:45pm||3:45pm||11am & 1:30pm|
(Last entry to the Gardens, the Glasshouses, Galleries and the Xstrata Treetop Walkway is 30 minutes before closing)
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding living collection of plants and world-class Herbarium as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international visitor attraction. Its landscaped 132 hectares and RBG Kew’s country estate, Wakehurst Place, attract nearly 2 million visitors every year. Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009. Wakehurst Place is home to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. RBG Kew and its partners have collected and conserved seed from 10 per cent of the world's wild flowering plant species (c.30, 000 species). The aim is to conserve 25% by 2020, and its enormous potential for future conservation can only be fulfilled with the support of the public and other funders.
Kew receives funding from the UK Government through Defra for approximately half of its income and is also reliant on support from other sources. Without the voluntary monies raised through membership, donations and grants, Kew would have to significantly scale back activities at a time when, as environmental challenges become ever more acute, its resources and expertise are needed in the world more than ever. Kew needs to raise significant funds both in the UK and overseas. Members of the public can support the work of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership by getting involved with the ‘Adopt a Seed, Save a Species' campaign. For £25 an individual can adopt a seed or for £1000 anyone can save an entire species. www.kew.org/adoptaseed
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