If you visit the house on an Open Day, you will be able to visit the Gallery and see an exhibition mounted to celebrate “Our Valentines“. Please visit and tell us what you think!
First featured artists: Sarah Cole and Anne Eggebert
These artworks are from a series we made during the restoration of Valentines Mansion in 2009. We were invited to respond to the house and grounds while the renovation works were in progress and found ourselves drawn to architectural structures in the grounds and faded décor in the house.
A fragment of wallpaper in the servants’ quarters at the top of the house, with its little scenes of Venice, prompted our reflections on the Grand Tour and the subsequent Venetian influences on the architecture of Valentines (inflected arches in the Dovecote, canals and ‘ruined’ grottos). We wondered what a young man today might do with these follies.
Traces 2009, drawing on tracing paper
Nothing now remains of the vintage wallpaper except for a photograph and this drawing. In the 1950s someone must have chosen this paper during a period of post-war optimism. Home décor began to reflect the start of the leisure travel industry so that one might quite literally be surrounded by elsewhere at home.
Folly #1 (Peaks) 2009 photographic transparency
Folly #4 (Grotto) 2009 photographic print
These images of free-runner Asid capture the body mid-flight (they are not Photoshopped -we are often asked!). We were interested to contrast the flight of fancy offered by the garden’s useless extravagant structures alongside the more literal flight of the contemporary free-runner. The still image holds the body above the 18th Century grotto and the elaborate garden wall – their surfaces at odds with the city’s brute architecture usually associated with free-runner acrobatics. The term folly also suggests fragility and a sense of whimsical, perhaps ill-considered, desire.