i. Note on Method: Diffracting The Sculpture Garden
ii. Introduction. The Ground Part I Tremenheere Sculpture Garden
Penny Florence is Professor Emerita at The Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, UK. Previous appointments include Chair of Humanities and Design Sciences, Art Center, Pasadena, USA; Head of Research Programmes at The Slade; Professor of Contemporary Arts and Director of Research at Falmouth University and Co-Director of Women's Studies, Univeristy of Exeter, UK. She continues to exhibit art works and films and she is a published poet. She has also given public performances/exhibitions of digital poetry at Tate Modern, Tate Britain and internationally. Her international publications include a number of books and many articles on issues related to art, poetry and feminist philosophy/theory, including especially sculpture and word-image (sculpture, poetry and painting). She has published on the sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Liz Larner among others, and contributed to the two-volume book Sculpture in 20th-century Britain (Henry Moore Institute). The French poet Stephane Mallarme in relation to painting is another sustained interest, as are feminism, innovation, experimentalism and the general shifting of boundaries.
'What happens if you take landscape, art and planting as equals in the Sculpture Garden?' This is the question, 'deceptively simple', with which editor Penny Florence sets out. Essays ebb and flow around these common themes, arranging objects and ideas like Lee Ufan's 'tapestries of intimate breathing'. Gay Watson writes that the Buddhist philosophy of complementarity and the promotion of awareness was a 'core intention' of the Cornish Tremenheere Sculpture Garden - this book's touchstone. Rippling the contradictory opposition of categories that has patterned western discourse on site-specificity and nature-culture relation so far, the intention of this 'other' mode of thinking-writing-breathing is to change consciousness. It's a wonderful achievement with a beautiful structure, pace and energy. Quite unlike any other book on sculpture gardens I know!
Jane Rendell, author of The Architecture of Psychoanalysis (2017) and Site-Writing (2011) is Professor of Critical Spatial Practice at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.
This book is a delight: at once sharply focussed and diffused, it draws together some of the foremost theorists and practitioners of garden design, and invites us to rethink our understanding not just of sculpture in gardens but of gardens as the sculpting of experience. A hybrid volume exploring hybridity, Florence's book combines intense insights and compelling overviews as it ranges from the established excitements of Little Sparta and the Louisiana Sculpture Park to the ongoing creation of Cornwall's Tremenheere, and from the Mono-Ha school to the betweenness of Bernard Lassus.
Professor Stephen Bending, University of Southampton