Beyond Limits – Part 1

Beyond Limits is Sotheby’s annual selling exhibition of modern and contemporary sculpture and I’m pleased to see that it seems to have become established as an annual event at Chatsworth.

The selling aspect of the exhibition targets a very select audience. You know the old saying: if you need to ask how much it is, you can’t afford it. Even the information sheet is clearly aimed at the über-rich – it includes details about how to get to Chatsworth by helicopter, not something that most of us have to worry about. The good news is that the exhibition is open to everyone, not just potential buyers, all that is needed is a ticket to visit the gardens.

This is a very clever bit of marketing: the gardens provide a spectacular backdrop for the sculptures; the sculptures attract lots of extra visitors to the gardens. You will not be surprised to learn that the current Duke of Devonshire is not only the effective owner of the Chatsworth estate (legally it is a trust, but administered on behalf of the family), but also deputy chairman at Sotheby’s.

There was a lot to see, although not as much as we expected, but more of that later. Here’s a few personal highlights:

House of Knowledge
Jaume Plensa

House of Knowledge II

I loved this.

It changed my opinion about the artist, about whom I was less than complimentary when he featured in last year’s exhibition. I still don’t like Winter Kept Us Warm III, but this is fantastic.

Mao Vest
by Sui Jianguo

Mao Vest

A powerful image, not least because of its enormous scale.

“I don’t think that’ll fit me. Have you got something smaller?” asked the man standing next to me.

Oh, very good.

Sitting Couple
by Lynn Chadwick

Sitting Couple I

Just beautiful.

See all my posts from Beyond Limits 2008

All my pictures from the 2008 Beyond Limits exhibition are here. The 2007 pictures are here and 2006 is here.

Simon Stock, Deputy Director of Impressionist & Modern Art at Sotheby’s, presents a video showcasing some of the sculptures. It’s worth watching, but be quick – I don’t know how long it will stay on Sotheby’s site once the exhibition has finished.

Download a free (woohoo!) 16 page catalogue containing pictures of all the sculptures with background information. A much thicker 196 page catalogue, complete with stunning photography, is available from Chatsworth – but that one would set you back £20.

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