during the 2023 Open Day at
Shatwell Farm, Somerset
During the week of the summer solstice, five artists responded to and activated the landscape, structures and architectural enquiries of Shatwell farm. Their various artworks existed in conversation with one another and visitors who attended the open day.
Leonora Oppenheim presented a series of photographs and a participatory performance piece.
Leonora Oppenheim, ‘WARNING SIGNAL’, 2023.
Technical design: Tom Baskeyfield
Printing: Mark Megilley at Format Print Studio
Nick du Boulay at Inkpot Studio
‘This photography installation encapsulates the body of work Leonora has been making in Bruton since she moved from London in 2020. As an urban interloper in the rural environment, she’s taking time to learn the language of this place. Preoccupied with the impact of human life on the natural world, she notices neon markings on the woodland trees and interprets them as warning signals. Soon the controlled management of the landscape becomes apparent, as she learns these symbols are a sign language between foresters. While out and about Leonora becomes aware of other forces on the move. Something is listening to her footsteps on the land. How, she wonders, can she communicate with that deep presence? As time collapses around her, she finds herself walking with generations past, present, and future. Reaching out, into the air... she tries to make the connection.’
Leonora Oppenheim, ‘WARNING: Test for Air’, performance, 2023.
Dramaturgy: Mary Ann Hushlak
Performers: Ashay Brown, Florence Caidan, Tyler Moorehead, Rose Adams
Photography: Dave Watts
‘What does it mean to pay attention? / If, or better when, we’re present with all our senses, what do we notice? How might we connect more deeply to a place and to ourselves? Moving slowly, what can we learn from the sights… sounds… textures… scents in the air? Might we perceive a greeting? Or even, a warning signal? / Join the field expedition to take in what we have in front of us and to consider the inevitability of loss. How many generations before us walked this land? How many after us will pass this way? What will be here, for them? / This field expedition is a celebration of all that is alive right now, (animal, plant, mineral, fungi) and all that has passed. Through generations, through seasons. We learn to live through mourning with joy and trepidation. / At this summer solstice, let us welcome this turning point in the year and accept the dimming of the light as we go around the cycle once again. And then, let us hope, again and again...’