I was driving through west London an early morning in May, the sun was showing its face at times through rows of cherry blossoms, and I was thinking to myself how peculiar it was that after nearly 14 years in London I had never been to Chiswick House. I came to the garden once but never to the house, I was now on my way to the press view of Bring Into Being, an experimental program of art commissions, events and workshops marking a new era for Chiswick House and Gardens and the very first time they have art exhibitions with contemporary art in the house and in the garden.
The exhibition is curated by Mariam Zulfiqar with artworks by Peter Adjaye, Jaimini Patel and Turner Prize winning Mark Wallinger, alongside workshops and events, Bring Into Being is in a way an incarnation of Chiswick House and will catch the attention of new people finding this beautiful spot and to utilise the stunning house in a new more contemporary way alongside its great history (don’t forget to listen to the audio guides, they are fantastic in their own right!).
“The global pandemic has brought into sharp focus a need for self-reflection and reconnection with nature. A year of separation from our friends and families further highlighted our basic desire for human connection. As we navigate the personal, social, economic and environmental challenges of the 21st century, what role can Chiswick House play in supporting the emergence of new futures? Bring Into Being covers a number of topics including time, natural cycles, representation, consciousness and perception to broaden the way in which we connect with this site, our surroundings, ourselves and each other”.
Jaimini Patel’s artwork, created from discarded organic materials from the gardens, invites reflection on temporality and transformation a collection of leaves in the most beautiful pattern is displayed on the floor in the heart of the House. Mark Wallinger’s artwork, presented in the Exedra behind the House, is a poignant reflection on time that brings together fleeting moments with the daily and yearly cycles of the earth in a giant sundial where you use yourself as the indicator. Peter Adjaye’s artwork, created with musicians of South Asian and West African heritage, responds to diverse stories hidden in plain sight at Britain’s historic buildings and places and is doing it so well with this three part audio in places unexpected.
Me and a couple of other writers were then whisked through the garden and over to the corner with the huge and ever so beautiful Victorian greenhouse, we walked through the greenhouse, passing to right one of the largest collections of different camellias in the world and into their kitchen garden. We had a lovely conversation with the Head Gardener and one of their full-time gardeners, both so full of passion, it’s a fully working kitchen garden supplying their own café as well as a Michelin starred local restaurant, La Trompette in Chiswick with greens, berries and fruit as well as their home-made honey. They also have workshops, and they will be open to the public at certain times during the week (check their website for exact times) for the first time in its history. When Chiswick House was built and occupied as a summer residence for the green these days they produce their own honey as well as cultivating their 280 fruit trees among multiple other berries, vegetable and fruits.
When I was leaving and driving back to Chelsea through a London in spring, I was thinking this may have been the first time I visited Chiswick House, but now I knew that it will definitely not be the last, and I will soon be returning and bringing friends and family as well, you should too and check out their exhibition when you are there.
For more information and tickets see online.
Adults £11, Family £23.50 (Two adults and up to three children). Exhibition open from 27 May- 31 October 2021.