KENNETT SQUARE, PA.-
As night fell on Friday in the eastern states of the USA Light: Installations by Bruce Munro at Longwood Gardens
was unveiled to the US press. On Saturday visitors poured in to see the much-anticipated artworks, and they were not disappointed.
The heart-stopping 23-acre show marks the first time Munro installations have been seen outside the UK, and his debut large-scale one-man-show anywhere. It has been commissioned by Longwood to run from June 9th to September 29th this year.
Longwood Gardens has a special place in East-Coasters hearts and is one of the great display gardens of the world. Timed tickets to Munros exhibition there have been selling out weeks in advance and iPhone/iPad apps are now available on iTunes.
The historic gardens have antique glasshouses not dissimilar to those at Kew Gardens outside London, and they regularly feature world-class musical and arts events as well as educational programmes.
Munros LIGHT consists of six large-scale outdoor installations, two installations within the 4-acre Grand Conservatory, and a small collection of illuminated sculptures in the Music Room. There are many new works by the Wiltshire-based Munro as well as never-before-seen views of Longwood at night.
The unmatched beauty of Longwood Gardens inspired me in so many ways, said Munro. Its been an exciting artistic challenge. I hope that guests will see in these works the beauty of melding light and landscape to become one.
FOREST OF LIGHT is a serene forest of 20,000 illuminated stems scattered along a forest walk. WATER-TOWERS is a monumental maze of 69 towers in the water meadow, which seem to move in a monumental glowing dance as they change colour in synchronisation with music. In WATERLILIES, Munro pays homage to Longwoods iconic waterlily by floating platters of shimmering CDs onto the Large Lake. Nearby on the banks, the 7,000-stem FIELD OF LIGHT beckons visitors toward its enchanting glow. ARROW SPRING artfully mixes the horticultural splendour of Salvia plants and sparkling LEDs to create a meandering hillside stream. For CANDLELIGHT, in Longwoods tree house, Munro has placed ceramic candles lit with xenon along the beams and angled mirrors to refract their glowing light.
Inside the Conservatory, the Orangery is hung with six SNOWBALLS suspended from the ceiling. Each chandelier is more than nine feet in diameter and encircles 127 glass balls. LIGHT SHOWER rains more than 1,600 drops of twinkling light over the flooded Fern Floor, creating a magical reflection that intensifies the luminous shower.
Finally, the Music Room features a collection of 6 smaller sculptures by Munro [Beach without Sand, Restless Fakir, Gnashers Big Raspberry, Boogie Woogie Tower, Rapunzels Towers and Mettabhavana].
One of these small pieces - Mettabhavana - is a model for an extraordinary building. I saw it in a dream. I couldnt tell where the light was coming from, it seemed to shine through the walls, said Bruce. A special website at Mettabhavana.com explores Munros passionate hopes of finding a patron to build this sculptural edifice. Surrounded by water channels and lit by candles, its sole use is for practicing the Loving Kindness meditation.
Munro has made small contributions to group-shows in the USA in the past, including Contemplating The Void at New Yorks iconic guggenheim
Museum, and a show of contemporary glass at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery.
To date, his best-known artworks are CD Sea at Long Knoll Field, and Field of Light at The Holburne Museum in Bath and the Eden Project in Cornwall. His work has also been much admired at the 12th century Salisbury Cathedral and at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Longwood Gardens is thrilled to host Bruce Munros first large-scale exhibition in the U.S., said Paul Redman, the Director. His imaginative works will enchant and amaze our guests with their beauty and ingenuity, but also inspire them to see and experience gardens in a whole new way. What also appealed to us about Bruces work is its focus on low-energy output and his sensitivity to the landscape, said Redman. Bruce shares Longwoods commitment to sustainable practices.