Fourteen international artists give Calke Abbey Profusion of contemporary art

By Mark Sheerin | 30 June 2010
A pile of wooden signs with random phrases printed on them

(Above) John Plowman's signposts. Image: Beacon Art Project

Exhibition: Profusion, Calke Abbey, Ticknall, until July 11 2010

Once home to a family of eccentric collectors, Calke Abbey is currently home to a collection of offbeat artworks. Profusion is the name given to the three-week group show by a host of international artists.

Martino Gamper comments on the venue's potential for picnicking. His project has entailed designing and building outdoor furniture for public use. Materials have all been found in the surrounding grounds and cut to size using a portable saw mill.

Wood is also the medium of John Plowman, who has designed a thicket of signposts. In lieu of directions, these feature a hoard of thoughts and phrases from which overall meaning is hard to discern. Catalogue numbers fixed to each one add to the confusion.

It's not clear what material Roger Hiorns has used for his installation in the Smithy, but the chances are it is anything but wood. The 2009 Turner Prize nominee has used animal brains, semen and a pulverised jet engine in the past, so anything's possible.

Eleven other artists feature in this show at a stately home which the National Trust has preserved as a fine example of 20th century decline. In the 21st century, Calke Abbey is an example of anything but.

Open 11am-5pm Saturday-Wednesday. Admission £4.30-£8.40. For more information, including details of a special local bus service, visit the Beacon Art Project website.

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