Tatton Park Biennial 2012: Flights of Fancy


Tatton Park has been holding it’s Biennial contemporary art event since 2008.  The event attracts celebrated artists to Cheshire from around the world.  The current event explores the human urge to achieve flight and Tatton’s aeronautical history.  The grounds of Tatton were used to train parachutists in WWII, and it is now on the flight path of Manchester Airport.  The 17 new works feature sculpture, film, installation and performance.

The event is set in the grounds of Tatton Park which includes a Georgian Neo-Classical mansion, formal gardens and 2,000 acres of deer park.  Visitors will see installations before even parking their car upon arriving at Tatton.  Vex by Dinui Lex is a flying saucer, crash-landed in front of Tatton’s mansion.  Inside the spaceship video communications from Che Guevara in several parallel universes, tell how he came to crash and his ideas about the merits of space travel and dub music as effective revolutionary forces in todays world.


Olivier Grossetête’s installation for the Biennial reflects the follies of the formal gardens and Japanese garden at Tatton. The fragile bridge is unreachable, it starts and ends in the water.  It is suspended by three helium filled balloons, reminiscent of man’s first attempts at defying gravity and how flight was once fanciful.

Trine Messenger is a seven metre long balloon inspired by Hypnos, the god of sleep and surrealist art.  The ethereal balloon has a dream like quality, shaped like a winged head which looks towards another installation further around the island.  The design was created using a mean average of the artist’s faces from biomedical facial scans.  The data collected was used to produce a pattern for the face which was made in fabric.  The piece sits in the formal gardens by the tranquil lakes of the Japanese Garden.


The works are on display until 30th September in the park, gardens and mansion.  As well as Artworks, the Biennial also includes talks by astrophysicists, artist workshops, performances and tours.  Other things to see at the moment in the gardens include Davidia involucrata, the handkerchief tree which is flowering now and the rhododendrons and azaleas are also in bloom.

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