At the entrance of Hauser and Wirth Somerset, housed in an 18th century farmhouse on the edge of Bruton, visitors are welcomed by a white neon sign which reads MUMS DADS KIDS GODS by the British artist Martin Creed. The installation, which is a result of his artist’s residency, offers viewers a clear impression of how art has been connected with life at Durslade Farm and acknowledges the relationship between the gallery and it’s idyllic surroundings.
Over the past three years, Hauser and Wirth Somerset has created a centre to explore how art and the environment it inhabits affect the way pieces are received and felt. The charming stone farm buildings, which form the core, have been restored and added to, creating five gallery spaces, a courtyard, and a restaurant. The space feels pastoral, reiterated in the warm stone, wooden beams, perennial meadow and milk pails, permeating with a rural charm more akin to a county retreat than pioneering world-class gallery yet, it is in fact a vibrant, modern project, intended to complement its locality.
In the architecture modern materials echo the original details and distinguish the old elements from the new. The outdoor sculptures work with the space. Two large, hyper reflective, sculptures by Subodh Gupta greet visitors. ‘Specimen 108’, a shiny steel tree from which utensils sprout like fruit clashes against, and concurrently compliment, the agrarian setting. Subdued green grasses and soft perennials bring colour and texture to the stark, regimented, cloister courtyard, where the old buildings meet the new, part of a close appreciation for nature running through the Hauser and Worth Somerset experience.
Visiting in late July, the place is imbued summer. The sun fills the large courtyards and galleries, warming the meandering grass paths and simmering in the vibrant waves of flowers in Piet Oudolf’s beautifully landscaped perennial meadow. A surprise glimpsed towards the end of the galleries. A garden that captures the seasons. Gently rising away away from the gallery a simple grass lawn shifts into curvaceous beds of colour, texture, which follow the slope drifting and swaying enticingly upwards.
Hauser and Wirth Somerset, Durslade Farm, Dropping Ln, Bruton, BA10 0NL