Winter Light at Waddesdon Manor

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | January 2, 2016 2
Bruce Munro SOS 2015 pink

…—… SOS by Bruce Munro 2015-11-12 Photographer, Mark Pickthal

Waddesdon Manor is different. Most National Trust houses hibernate for the winter but coming up to Yuletide this fairy tale Rothschild house Waddesdon Manor re-opens its doors for the winter season and the rooms are a veritable wonderland of magical decorations and trees. And outside the gardens are bathed in light from the third and final year of the residency by Wiltshire based artist Bruce Munro. Waddesdon-Manor

British artist Bruce Munro, 54, describes himself as a “professional daydreamer.” He has created a series of six winter light installations in the stunning gardens of Waddesdon Manor, owned by the Rothschilds and bequeathed to The National Trust in the 1950s. Bruce Munro is known for his impressive large-scale light-based installations. This winter his latest creation was switched on in the dramatic setting of Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire. And it was inspired by ShelterBox.

Munro’s sprays of fluorescent fibre-optic light are turned on at dusk. They are large and conceptual: giant balls which recall Christmas decorations, neon owls’ eyes, tepees that flash like the décor of a rave, breaking the deep stillness of the Buckinghamshire countryside.

However, Munro is a heart-felt artist and some of these works are designed to harmonise with the environment. The Morse code signal SOS is a good fit with the work of humanitarian relief charity ShelterBox. Three dots, three dashes, and three dots is the internationally-recognised call for rescue when disaster strikes. Winter+Light+Waddesdon+Bruce+Munro+PrtT0ajXfaalBruce Munro - SOS tents

Innovative Wiltshire-based artist Bruce Munro has used this famous sequence in his own interpretation of SOS, the final exhibition of his three year residency at Waddesdon Manor. Waddesdon in Buckinghamshire is one of the seats of the Rothschild family, among the richest and most powerful European families of the 19th century. They wielded not only financial and political power, but also invested in architecture, and collections of fine and decorative art. Little wonder then that Waddesdon and its grounds are often used as a blank canvas for bold and large-scale works.

For his installation ‘SOS’ Bruce has created a line of illuminated tents winding their way through Waddesdon’s garden, bringing light to a nocturnal landscape. The artist’s notes explain that it is ‘an idea that originated in Bruce’s childhood memories of camping holidays. The work’s nostalgic soundtrack recalls his fascination with an old radio and snippets of music and voices emerging from the static fuzz. This shifting soundscape is synchronised with colourful light pulses which stream around the tents, abruptly interrupted by the urgent Morse code international distress signal in sound and light.’ munro_6waddesdonnorthfront_floodlit_xmas

Munro’s work is often themed around human frailty and resilience. In 2012 he was inspired by an article about ShelterBox, saying, ‘The tents remind us of people and places in need of help.’  Waddesdon looks good all year around but lit up and wearing her Christmas party frock she is irresistible! But hurry, as tomorrow 3rd January is the last night of Bruce Munro’s installation.

For full details of all opening times over winter see www.waddesdon.org.uk

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