Sunday, 17 May 2009

Brighton Open Houses - The Handmade House - Of the Genus Cruciferae

We went along to the furniture maker Ralph Levy's "handmade house" in Ditchling. It's always a lovely house with a sculpture walk attached so we thought we knew what to expect - but were surprised and slightly unnerved!

We approached the house via the sculpture walk and this year the sculpture walk features a monumental exhibition by Brian Mander - entitled 'Of the genus Cruciferae': Liminal, Proximal, Nouminal.

The sculptures consist of large totemic sculptures, composed from large wooden beams, skulls, antlers, rusted ironwork and chain, old agricultural implements and fire. The objects greet you as if a warning to visitors not to proceed further, but get more monumental - 20ft cruciform structures until you approach a clearing with a lit fire and 3 large structures.

The feeling is of an interrupted ritual, a sacred place in the woods. Impressive and moving - competes, I think, with Anish Kapoor in Sussex this year for imposing ambiguous sculpture in the landscape.

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