Jupiter Artland introduces its newest spellbinding artwork, a fully functional swimming pool. Pressed into a previously unexplored area of the sculpture park, Gateway, appears like a fluid flower in a kaleidoscope of drizzled colours.

This bright and beautiful commission is the culmination of three years of development and dedicated research from the Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos. The opening of this pool coincides with Jupiter Artland’s summer exhibition Time, Space, Gravity dedicated to the late artist and choreographer Trisha Brown. Her legacy of passionately bringing art outside of traditional settings and engineering innovative new ideas for her dancers and audiences, is displayed through her film and drawing archive. Accompanying the exhibition is Trisha Brown: In Plain Site, a performative celebration of the late artist’s legacy of ground-breaking choreography.

Photo John Preece

Vasconcelos’ popular 2018 exhibition at Jupiter presented us with her oversized and vibrant artwork with its characteristic love for craft. Gateway continues to honour this need for colour, life, and the communal act of craftsmanship.

It is more than a pool or a sculpture, but a fully envisioned garden where every aspect has been devotedly considered. It explores the spiritual flow of Jupiter Artland as an environment, something it shares with their recent breath-taking Daniel Lie exhibition. The design and placement of Gateway was inspired by the belief that Bonnington House, the estate’s manor, is where several ‘leylines’ intersect. These lines are said to channel earthly energy and connect spiritual sites across the world.

The spirituality behind ideas of the Zodiac have also been incorporated into the geometry of the pool, including Vasconcelos’ own astrological sign; Scorpio. The five ‘petals’ of the pool represent the five members of the Wilson family, owners of the park.

PHOTO John Preece

Bathing sessions are available to all, with a maximum group of ten, and must be booked before visiting Jupiter Artland. The pool’s swooping curves offer a charming place for a group to explore and socialise within. No chance of any solitary focused lane swimmers here, this is a place for people to swim together and admire the pool’s intricacies up-close. Only once in the water can visitors really examine Gateway’s 11,366 hand-painted and fired Portuguese tiles. Head of Exhibitions and Audience Engagement Claire Feeley said :‘Gateway nurtures the idea of swimming pools as sites fostering community; an experiential space that is inherently social, playful and shared.’ As the sculpture park’s much anticipated summer festival approaches, Jupiter Rising (23-25 August), attendees can look forward to how this site will play host to live art and performance during the weekend.

The sculpture park’s unique landscape will also play host to the series of dance pieces as part of Trisha Brown: In Plain Site. After Brown moved to New York in the early sixties, she performed on the streets of Soho, transforming it from an industrial area to a place for artists to experiment with the derelict houses as their backdrop.

This was the start of a long career of making art defined by moving outside of formal dance spaces. Like her frequent collaborator Robert Rauschenberg, she used materials she found on the city streets, instead of traditional materials which she found inaccessible due to her lack of financial resources she faced as a new mother. She went on to present fully staged choreographies at the Walker Art Centre.

Her work expanded the possibilities of movement for both dancers and audiences alike. Time, Space, Gravity uses archival film and drawing material to examine this legacy, as well as live choreography performed by dancers from the Trisha Brown Dance Company, moving around the park’s sculptures.

Earlier works, like Walking on the Wall, 1971, are shown in the Steadings Gallery, and the exhibition culminates in Les Yeux et L’âme, 2011, a film presentation in the ballroom gallery. The historical, romantic building is a fitting space for an artist who was fascinated by Baroque music. The curation of this work, contrasting the historical buildings of Jupiter with the timeless energy of Brown’s choreography, represents a perfect marriage between postmodern dance and the artist’s peerless originality.

PHOTO John Preece

In Plain Site’s five live performances will take place 9-11 August. If you wish to find out more about Jupiter Artland’s summer programme, then click here. There are also still some available dates to book chance to swim in Gateway this summer here. The park is open until 29 September 2019 from 10.00am-5.00pm.

Photo John Preece