Albion Fields: an unexpected home for art in Oxford
Oxfordshire’s old farmhouse becomes an unexpected artistic paradise
Escape the city heatwave at Albion Fields, a new destination for outdoor rural sculpture, which opens with an exhibition featuring works by James Turrell, Joana Vasconcelos, Ai Weiwei and Erwin Wurm
Located a short train ride from London in the rolling Oxfordshire countryside, the newly opened Albion Fields Sculpture Park promises open views, secluded woods and, most importantly, a range of world-class outdoor sculptural treats.
The first exhibition, designed 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 Rothschild, James Turrell, Joana Vasconcelos, Xavier Veilhan, Bernar Venet, Ai Weiwei, Rachel Whiteread and Erwin Wurm.
Bernar Venet, Indeterminate line, 2016-2020. © Jonty Wilde and Bernar Vernet Studio
Highlights include Wurm’s metal bulb Big Convertible, 2019, which reflects the surrounding environment, and David Adjaye Horizon Pavilion, 2017, which fits perfectly into the agricultural landscape. In more variations on a thought-provoking theme is Ryan Gander No more really bright things that don’t mean nothing, 2012, and that of Alicja Kwade Big Be-Hide, 2019, an edition of which is also currently on display at the Helsinki Biennale 2021. Ai Weiwei, who was recently interviewed for Wallpaper’s At Home With series, presents a deceptive sofa, which looks like leather, but is actually solid marble.
Interspersed with flora and fauna, the pieces will coexist in the landscape with deer, badgers, green woodpeckers, hares and owls which have all taken up residence since the lands withdrew from farming. The first artwork installation at Albion Fields will be on view until September 25, 2021, after which the artwork will be filmed every two years.
Ai Weiwei, Sofa in Black, 2011, marble. Image courtesy of Jonty Wilde, the artist and the Lisson Gallery, London
The park was designed by art dealer and collector Michael Hue-Williams, owner of the 50-acre farm estate in Little Milton. “As I walked through these beautiful gardens during the lockdown, I realized I had a unique opportunity to share the experience,” Hue-Williams said. “Having access to this land, combined with my many years of experience working with contemporary sculpture, made the decision to open an outdoor sculpture park really compelling. ”
Entrance to the park is free and each work exhibited will be for sale. “There is a very considerable public interest in seeing the sculpture, especially in the countryside of southern England where the opportunities are so limited. In the current pandemic situation, this would be even more beneficial, ”says Lord Rothschild, who supported the project alongside Nicholas Serota, Lord Vaizey, Richard Long and Anish Kapoor, as well as local MP John Howell, with permission from South Oxfordshire. Advice. §