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August 12, 2014

Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage

The Late Artist's Seaside Arcadia is Our Final Great Garden

“Paradise haunts gardens and it haunts mine,” wrote the late painter, filmmaker, theater designer and author Derek Jarman. His vast garden was established in 1986 on the bleak British landscape of Dungeness, Kent around an old tar-painted fisherman’s cottage, neighboring a nuclear power station. “It becomes part of the landscape and the wildness becomes part of the garden,” says the director and narrator of the last in our Great Gardens series, Howard Sooley. A photographer, gardener, and Jarman’s dear friend, Sooley first started visiting Prospect Cottage in the late 1980s. Together, they went on to produce a record of how the garden evolved, Derek Jarman’s Garden—the last book Jarman ever wrote. “My favorite thing that I ever planted there was a perfect circle of foxgloves from scattering seed collected near the power station,” he adds. “But above all I love that, visually, the garden doesn’t end.” The keen plantsman still tends to the garden along with Jarman’s partner Keith Collins, who lives at the cottage. Beauty punctuates the sparseness with sea kale, wild red poppies, and fiendishly blue cornflowers. Beachcombed metal sculptures, stone circles, and wind-twisted wood mark the framework for the various areas, while poet John Donne’s “The Sunne Rising” adorns one of the cottage walls.—Lee C. Wallick 

“The Sunne Rising” (abridged) by John Donne (1633)

Busie old foole, unruly Sunne,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windowes, and through curtains call on us?
Must to thy motion lovers’ seasons run?
Sawcy pedantique wretch, goe chide
Late schoole boyes and sowre prentices,
Goe tell Court-huntsmen, that the King will ride,
Call countrey ants to harvest offices;
Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clyme,
Nor houres, dayes, moneths, which are the rags of time…
Thou sunne art halfe as happy as wee,
In that the world’s contracted thus.
Thine age askes ease, and since thy duties bee
To warme the world, that’s done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy centre is, these walls thy spheare.

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Beatrice Galilee: Attention To Detail

An Excursion Through the Portuguese Capital by the Lisbon Architecture Triennale Curator

“It has modernism and brutalism, and perfect concrete everywhere you look,” says Beatrice Galilee of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, one of the atypical Mediterranean structures included in today’s guided portrait of Lisbon. Captured by Belgian fashion photographer Quentin de Briey, the series explores Galilee's architectural selections, taking in buildings usually closed to the public. Following her curatorial role at the 2011 Gwangju Design Biennale in South Korea, which was directed by artist Ai Weiwei and architect Seung H-Sang, Galilee has curated a dynamic program for the Triennale that opened earlier this month. With a goal to broaden the definition of architecture, she has enlisted fellow curators Mariana Pestana, Liam Young and Dani Admiss, and included work from installation artist Bart Hess and digital studio Marshmallow Laser Feast, alongside Italian design institution Fabrica. “We’ve chosen installations for each venue relative to their history,” explains Galilee. “The different lives of every building explored through new work.”

The Lisbon Architecture Triennale runs through December 15.

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Ron Arad: Metal Maestro

The Forward-Thinking Designer Returns to the Israeli Museum He Built

Digitally deconstructed renderings of imploding Fiat 500s form the base of this short film, showing alongside lustrous steel chair frames, high-tech 3D printing and raw copper molds at Ron Arad’s latest show, In Reverse, hosted by the Design Museum Holon, Israel. Arad designed the museum in 2010 with the aim of turning the city into a design hub for the Middle East and triggering worldwide interest in the creative output of the area. One of the trailblazers of modern design, Arad has been working with metal for over three decades to create a comprehensive series of works that transcend art, architecture, design and installation. He first rose to fame in the 1980s and has since headed the Design Products Department at London’s prestigious Royal College of Art, as well as working with such big-name brands as Alessi, Vitra, Kenzo and Yohji Yamamoto. In Reverse takes Arad’s work a step further into the realm of digital, as he explores how the shape and form of the Italian automobile reacts under different strains. “I was in the middle of squashing a huge sculpture, and had this Fiat 500 gathering rust outside my studio.” explains the designer. “One day I said to myself ‘Let me squash that, too!’” I practiced with model cars, then graduated to real-size ones. It’s not a complex idea, but I talked about the car with the museums who got very excited by it, so there we are!”

How does it feel to be coming home, as it were?
Ron Arad: It took me until now to agree to do a show at the museum, mainly because I think of it as my piece, so I don’t want to use it for my own work as well! This show was so successful though—I’ve been at the Pompidou, MoMA, the Barbican, and so I was excited to end the journey here. I know the museum so well, so it made it easier to plan. And now it’s pretty thrilling to see people enjoying the show and the building

What interests you about working with metal?
RA: When I first started work, metal was a forgiving material: I could work with it without being a craftsman. I can cut it, weld it, sharpen it, polish it and make it an extension of sketching. There’s no blueprint. 

Is this your first venture into digital simulation?
RA: When I first bashed metal, I had people around me who were obviously much better then me—they were better at polishing or sculpting. But with digital technology, anything is possible and I can be as good at creating something as I like. I still draw everything in some way, but the digital in this case enhances it. 

And the squashing of cars?
RA: It’s funny, because out of the six cars, not one is the favorite: everyone chooses a different one so it’s a hung parliament, as it were. It’s interesting to see something so full of shape and recognizable instantly take on a new form.

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