Art Trip to Hauser and Wirth, Somerset

Senior School, Art

On the morning of Wednesday 24th of September, the year 11 art students arrived at the new Hauser and Wirth gallery in Bruton. Met by our cheery guides and a 16ft stainless steel milk bucket, the feel of the day began as it continued: exciting… and slightly surreal. But we were reassured by artist Martin Creed’s neon sign that stretched across the beautiful 18th Century farm building and read, “Everything’s going to be alright.”

Hauser and Wirth seemed to be one enormous artists’ collaboration. Everything was carefully considered, stylishly arranged and stimulating to view; from the bustling bar- a rhythmical 3-D collage of farm machinery, junk and found objects built by Bj̈orn and Oddur Roth- to the skilful pairing of modern and classical architecture, and the imaginative cow trough sinks in the ladies! The exhibitions it held were full of busy, colourful and visually thrilling work, whilst still maintaining the atmosphere of calm and contemplation that every gallery should induce.

We had the pleasure of seeing Phyllida Barlow’s installations and learning all about her, the way she works and what it was like to really pursue a career in art. Barlow’s usual subject for her sculptures is London, but for this exhibition she applied her usual style to more rural inspired pieces; for example, “Untitled: chairs” – stacks of vibrantly painted metal chairs, suggesting the end of a village fete and “Untitled: grinder” –hundreds of pieces of semi-circular wood arranged in messy rows and painted in coral toned stripes- reminiscent of a disused combine harvester or any old farm machinery.

A common favourite amongst us was Phyllida’s “Gig”, psychedelic pompoms suspended from criss-crossed timber beams painted in vivid colours. We were encouraged to try and capture her expressive flare by looking up at the wild balls and drawing what we could see without looking back at our page. It was surprising - some really lovely work was produced when we learnt to let go!

Recently, Hauser and Wirth opened their beautiful gardens, created by Piet Oudolf. Not only did we explore the gardens and make measured drawings of them, we also saw the collection of his plans that were on display. Piet is an internationally renowned landscape designer from the Netherlands. He is not an artist but his bright pictorial maps were captivating and fascinating to look at, done in felt tip, using repeated shapes, keys and lots of writing. Each of us interpreted his style when making a pencil study of the cloister courtyard, a smaller garden with amazing statues by Louise Bourgeois and Hans Josephson.

All in all the day was a huge success, enjoyed by everyone, and has I’m sure inspired many in their work for the all-important black books!

Thank you to the art staff for organising and supervising such a wonderful day.