Image: Catherine Bertola, In the pursuit of perfection, 2014, Russet Apple Tree, bamboo, bronze, gold leaf, ceramic, motor. (CB0100) Courtesy of the artist and Workplace Gallery
Tuesday 10 June - Sunday 2 November
Rothbury, Northumberland, NE65 7PX
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In response to the inventive spirit demonstrated by Lord Armstrong, rooms will shine, lampshades will crackle and the beautiful gardens will hold a golden surprise within them. There are seven installations across Cragside, including sculptures constructed from small glass bricks, a 360-degree camera obscura, golden gilded apples and light and sound installations.
Catherine Bertola is Newcastle based artist whose work involves drawings, objects and installations that respond directly to a place and its history.
Focusing on the emphasis on which Victorian landowners placed upon the pursuit of perfection, the artist has turned her attention to how the formal garden represents the length William Armstrong went to control and harness nature.
The layout of the garden masks the rugged barren landscape upon which Cragsde is built. Underneath the constructed order and simplicity lie complex systems and mechanisms used by Armstrong's gardeners to cultivate plants and maintain this man made environment. Most of these innovations remain invisible to visitors.
Catherine Bertolas' perfect, precious apple tree draws attention to this now humble fruit that were considered in the Victorian era to be a complete singular dish, celebrated in it's own right and a way to demonstrate one's wealth and status to guests at lavish dinner parties.
In the pursuit of perfection uses Armstrong's original plant pot as a vessel for the tree's controlled growth, rotating hourly by a new mechanism to ensure an even amount of sunlight reaches the precious sapling. Instead of succulent fruits we are presented with a symbol of Armstrong's wealth and the amount of investment made in the pursuit of perfection for the whole of Cragside.