Former Oxfordshire farm becomes unexpected art haven

Escape the city heatwave to Albion Fields, a new destination for rural outdoor sculpture, which opens with an exhibition including works by Joana Vasconcelos, Ai Weiwei and Erwin Wurm

Erwin Wurm, Fat Convertible in Oxfordshire farm
Erwin Wurm, Fat Convertible, 2019.
(Image credit: Jonty Wilde and Albion Fields)

Located a short train ride from London in the rolling Oxfordshire countryside, newly opened sculpture park Albion Fields promises open vistas, secluded woodland and, above all, a world-class line-up of outdoor sculptural treats

The first show, conceived in partnership with Goodman Gallery, Marian Goodman Gallery, König Galerie and Lisson Gallery, will present works by 26 leading contemporary artists including David Adjaye, Kader Attia, Daniel Buren, Claudia Comte, Ryan Gander, Jeppe Hein, Cristina Iglesias, Alicja Kwade, John Pawson, Eva RothschildJoana Vasconcelos, Xavier Veilhan, Bernar Venet, Ai Weiwei (opens in new tab), Rachel Whiteread, and Erwin Wurm.

Albion Fields Bernar Venet, Indeterminate Line

Bernar Venet, Indeterminate Line, 2016-2020.

(Image credit: Jonty Wilde and Bernar Vernet Studio)

Highlights include Wurm’s bulbous metallic Fat Convertible, 2019, which mirrors the surrounding environment, and David Adjaye’s Horizon Pavilion, 2017, which looks at home in the agricultural landscape. In more variations on a theme of reflection is Ryan Gander’s More really shiny things that don’t mean anything, 2012, and Alicja Kwade’s Big Be-Hide, 2019, an edition of which is also currently on view at the 2021 Helsinki Biennial. Ai Weiwei, who was recently interviewed for Wallpaper’s At Home With series, presents a deceptive sofa, which resembles leather, but is in fact solid marble. 

Interspersed among flora and fauna, the pieces will cohabit the landscape with deer, badgers, green woodpeckers, hares and owls that have all taken up residence since the land retired from agricultural use. The first installation of artworks at Albion Fields will be on view until 25 September 2021, after which works will be rotated biannually.

Black sofa in farm

Ai Weiwei, Sofa in Black, 2011, marble.

(Image credit: Jonty Wilde, Ai Weiwei & Lisson Gallery, London)

The park was the brainchild of art dealer and collector Michael Hue-Williams, who owns the 50-acre farming estate in Little Milton. ‘Walking through these beautiful grounds during lockdown, I realised I have a unique opportunity to share the experience,’ says Hue-Williams. ‘Having access to this land, combined with my numerous years of experience working with contemporary sculpture, made the decision to open an outdoor sculpture park really compelling.’ 

Entry to the park is free of charge, and each work on view will be for sale. ‘There is very considerable interest from the public in seeing sculpture, particularly in the countryside in southern England, where there are such limited opportunities. In the current pandemic situation it would be of even greater benefit,’ says Lord Rothschild, who supported the project alongside Nicholas Serota, Lord Vaizey, Richard Long and Anish Kapoor, as well as the local MP John Howell, with permission from the South Oxfordshire Council.

Ivory Granite Line in farm

Richard Long, Ivory Granite Line, 2016.

(Image credit: Jonty Wilde, Richard Long & Lisson Gallery, London)

Alicja Kwade, Big Be Hide, 2019, at Albion Fields

Alicja Kwade, Big Be Hide, 2019.

(Image credit: König Galerie)

Cristina Iglesias, Pozo IV, at Albion Fields.

Cristina Iglesias, Pozo IV.

(Image credit: Jonty Wilde, Cristina Iglesias & Marian Goodman Gallery)

David Adjaye, Horizon Pavilion 2017.

David Adjaye, Horizon Pavilion 2017.

(Image credit: Jonty Wilde and Albion Fields)

James Capper Treadpad B Pair 2 Walking Ship 40 Ton Standard Displacement 4 Leg 2017.

James Capper, Treadpad B Pair 2 Walking Ship 40 Ton Standard Displacement 4 Leg, 2017.

(Image credit: Jonty Wilde and Albion Fields)

Stainless Steel sculpture in farm

Ryan Gander, More really shiny things that dont mean anything, 2012.

(Image credit: Jonty Wilde, Ryan Gander & Lisson Gallery)

Adel Abdessemed Cheval De Turin

Adel Abdessemed, Cheval De Turin, 2012.

(Image credit: Jonty Wilde And Albion Fields)

INFORMATION

albionbarn.com

ADDRESS

Albion Barn
Church Hill, Little Milton
Oxford OX44 7QB

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Harriet Lloyd-Smith is the Arts Editor of Wallpaper*, responsible for the art pages across digital and print, including profiles, exhibition reviews, and contemporary art collaborations. She started at Wallpaper* in 2017 and has written for leading contemporary art publications, auction houses and arts charities, and lectured on review writing and art journalism. When she’s not writing about art, she’s making her own.