Eden Project branches out with 2019 art programme
The Cornwall-based attraction and eductional charity has unveiled the latest additions to its growing permanent art collection, including new works by Julian Opie and Ryan Gander
When Studio Swine’s ‘breathing’ sculpture first huffed and puffed into life at Eden Project in 2017, it put the Cornwall institution on the map as a budding destination for contemporary art. Since then its collection has come into full bloom, most recently with new sculptural additions by Ryan Gander and Jenny Kendler, installed in the grounds alongside works from Julian Opie and Tim Shaw that arrived earlier in the year and a sound piece by Hayden Dunham.
The Grimshaw Architects-designed Biome buildings form the backdrop to a site-specific work by Opie, who has created monolithic video ‘monument to the crowd’. Elsewhere on the grounds, Kendler’s 40ft-long sculpture Birds Watching – first commissioned for Storm King in New York and newly adapted for Eden Project – comprises a 100-strong ‘flock’ of reflective birds’ eyes mounted on aluminium, while Ryan Gander’s marble fountain, fashioned in the likeness of his wife Rebecca, playfully spits water at passersby.
Coinciding with the unveiling of Eden’s permanent installations is a temporary exhibition that explores the relationship between artificial intelligence and creativity through the lens of five artists inspired by nature. The results are diverse and thought-provoking, from the parallels drawn between the European ‘tulipmania’ of the 1630s and modern-day cryptocurrency speculation (care of British artist Anna Ridler), to Jon McMcCormack’s algorithm-generated plant images formed from the graphic elements of oil company logos.
Nestled in a former china clay pit, the Eden Project has provided a gateway to the natural world since 2001. Recent efforts by the Eden Trust have focused on diversifying the charity’s cultural programme that has seen several international music acts perform at the site over the years. Now, bolstered by a formal commitment to a new arts strategy, senior curator Misha Curson – previously of the Cass Sculpture Foundation – will ensure that Eden Project’s artistic programming has a clear vision for the future. §