Join the Biennial as it discovers War Time Tatton on Sunday 1 July 2012

The Biennial’s second weekend of events concentrates on the legacy of the Second World War, with artists’ responses to the theme ‘Flights of Fancy’ complemented by a tour of the site with historian Jim Rait.

‘A Tour of Wartime Tatton’ with diversions into the world of Edwardian aviation, will be led by aviation historian Jim Rait, who will address Tatton’s last Lord, Maurice Egerton’s early flying escapades, his purpose built airstrip, the aero sheds and his personal involvement in both World Wars.

Tatton Park’s involvement in the war effort was a substantial one, with nearly 400,000 descents made on the estate by troops preparing for deployment into occupied Europe, under the direction of what would become No 1 Parachute School. The two-hour tour of the parkland will begin at 2pm at the Biennial kiosk in Tatton’s Stableyard.

Biennial artists and writers have all created new works around the ‘Flights of Fancy’ theme, some of which directly relate to Tatton Park during the war years.

Manchester-based Ultimate Holding Company have developed The Cartland Institute for Romance Research, a project that brings together the relationships between Dame Barbara Cartland, the construction of the Colditz Cock by Allied prisoners of war and Tatton Park. A prolific writer of romantic fiction, Cartland was also instrumental in the development of the troop-carrying glider. Cartland worked with Edward Mole, who was closely connected with the technical development of military gliders, which were used with great success by British Airborne Forces. The artwork, installed in the Gardens at Tatton, is further elaborated by a novel created by Ultimate Holding Company, The Colditz Cock, which is for sale online and at Tatton’s gift shop.

Swiss artist Charbel Ackermann has created Dead Cat, an ode to inspired experimenters like Tatton’s last Lord, Maurice Egerton, an early radio and flight enthusiast. Ackermann’s work reflects Egerton’s radio experiments (which were cut short following the seizure of amateur radio equipment during World War Two) and features an hour-long assemblage of sounds, including the 1942 BBC recording of nightingales, which inadvertently picked up the sound of Allied bombers on their way to Mannheim.

Tom Dale’s work for the Biennial, The Mars Society, takes as its starting point the unexploded bomb that landed at Tatton during World War II. The Ministry of Defence, at the request of Lord Egerton, returned the bomb as a ‘souvenir’ to add to his collection. Dale’s work is a British Thunderbird rocket carrying a cultural payload. From the efforts of the Cold War ‘rocket mail’ programme, which promised (but spectacularly failed) to deliver post at supersonic speeds to the first free webmail services and the eponymous The Mars Society itself  (an international organisation intent on colonising Mars), the work suggests idealism amidst historical failures to launch.

Author Leslie Forbes has developed a short fiction for the Biennial. Suspended Flight examines both the use of Tatton Park as a training grounds for paratroopers and the experiences of a young girl evacuated from Liverpool who finds herself living in the relative safety of rural Cheshire. The text is available for download from the Biennial website.

In all, there is a lot to take in at the Biennial on 1 July.

The Biennial curators, Danielle Arnaud and Jordan Kaplan, said, “Tatton Park’s avionic legacy is fascinating and we are delighted to offer up ‘Flights of Fancy’ to younger generations who may not be aware of Tatton’s place in the historical record. The artists who have worked on this year’s Biennial have put a lot of thought into the theme and we are looking forward to this weekend’s tour with Jim Rait!”

Every other year new work is commissioned from established and emerging artists, inspired by and for Tatton Park.  Previous Biennials took place in 2008 and 2010 to critical and public acclaim. In 2012 the Biennial theme is Flights of Fancy and examines the human urge to fly and the aeronautical legacy of Tatton Park and the region. Tatton Park Biennial 2012 runs until September 30th.


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