Tom Dixon takes part in Artists' Playground at Sudeley Castle

May 12, 2008

Leading international artists and designers including Tom Dixon, Jeppe Hein, Carsten Höller, Zaha Hadid and Lawrence Weiner have been specially commissioned to take part in Artists’ Playground, a major new exhibition based on the theme of play at Sudeley Castle in the UK from 31 May – 31 October 2008.

Tom Dixon will show a collection of flame cut designs (image obove) in the grounds of the Sudeley Castle. The basis of the installation reveals a series of unfeasibly heavyweight furniture for an outdoor space which challenges our ideas of acceptable materials, processes and notions of fitness for purpose. This idea originates from the tumultuous history of Sudeley, where civil conflict has inflicted massive damage to the buildings since the early 1500’s. The furniture takes its inspiration from the perfect underpinning for the archetypical British summer afternoon outdoors – swing chairs, chess tables and recliners - no longer made of cheap and temporary canvas and pine wood but this time fabricated from inch thick plate steel, a material more often used for tanks, submarines and bank safes, solid enough to resist the inconvenience of conflict and world wars and durable enough for the next 1000 years.

Zaha Hadid will create a giant slide while Jeppe Hein will produce a mirrored labyrinth. Carsten Höller is creating a flying machine, Henry Krokatsis will carve a Gothic tree-house and James Hopkins will create a giant kaleidoscope and camera obscura inside oversized champagne bottles.

Artists’ Playground is conceived by curators Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst and Elliot McDonald. Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst opened the first London-based Gagosian Gallery in 1999 and Elliot McDonald is the curator of Hiscox Art Projects and the Hiscox Collection. The project is presented in partnership with Phillips de Pury & Company, the internationally renowned contemporary art auction house.

The maverick design dealer Kenny Schachter has co-ordinated the design element of the exhibition, curating works by four designers: Zaha Hadid, Tom Dixon, Arik Levy and Richard Woods.

Set in the Cotswold Hills, the partially ruined Sudeley Castle thrived during Tudor times as a royal household for Queen Katherine Parr but suffered damage during the Civil War. Since being restored in the 1830s, it has played host to many of the great politicians of the Victorian age. The castle has been open to the public since 1972, attracting over 80,000 visitors a year.

Sudeley Castle holds annual exhibitions of large-scale sculpture and installations. The first Sudeley Castle garden sculpture exhibition, Vertigo was launched in 2005. Following the success of the first show, two further exhibitions followed, Reconstruction #1 in 2006 and Reconstruction #2 in 2007.

Artists’ Playground: Tom Dixon, Kevin Francis-Gray, Zaha Hadid, Jeppe Hein, Carsten Höller, James Hopkins, Henry Krokatsis, Arik Levy, Michael Craig-Martin, Jonathan Monk, Rolf Sachs, Piotr Uklanski, Lawrence Weiner, Ai Wei Wei and Richard Woods.

Proventus' engagement in Tom Dixon