We have officially started our residency at Mottisfont at one of the busiest times of the year. The roses are in bloom and the gardens are full of their heady scent. This is quite a different Mottisfont to the one we visited in the cooler months during the planning stages.
Our residency is the third of six that are running over a two year period. Each residency aims to illuminate a particular ‘storyscape’ by looking into different aspects of what makes up this fascinating place. This is part of the broader storyscape of Mottisfont as an artistic hub established by the previous residents, Maud and Gilbert Russell who resided here from 1934 until the early 70’s.
The Mottisfont Estate has a well documented history and traces of its historical past can be found throughout the site. Its present function as a visitor attraction, educational and conservational resource is adding to this richness and multi -layering. We are interested in what draws people to Mottisfont, how people move through the grounds and the devices that are used to frame views and vistas.
Our particular storyscape concerns ‘Vistas, Viewpoints and Illusions’. For this residency we are taking two related starting points. The first is that of the vistas and viewpoints that criss-cross the house and grounds and are embedded in its architecture and landscaping. The second are the layers of illusion that seem to pervade Mottisfont such as the trompe l’oeil paintings of the Whistler Room.
With these things in mind we are working with a graduate and student group from Winchester School of Art and local groups of U3A’s to find out what view inspires them about Mottisfont. Alongside this activity we will be developing an installation that is response to this work and our own ‘view’ of Mottisfont.
What is exciting about this project is that we don’t have a pre-determined outcome of what the final artwork(s) will be ….will keep posting.