Launch of new garden art installation

Katie Derham and Pierre Surtel SUS-150113-150221001
Katie Derham and Pierre Surtel SUS-150113-150221001

This winter, art collective Lola Muance lights up the landscape at National Trust Nymans, with a unique sculptural artwork that transforms this famous garden with colour and light.

Launching on the 12 January, visitors to the garden can wander and wonder at Lola Muance’s latest creation, which winds its way down through the Pinetum – Nymans’ beautiful meadow.

Every Friday evening from 5pm – 7pm from the 23 January, the garden will be open FOR FREE, so that visitors can experience the full impact of the luminescent sculpture trail against the night sky. Warming drinks and refreshments will be available to keep the chill out.

Lola Muance, based in southern France, is headed by artistic director Pierre Surtel, who is the driving force behind the Nymans installation.

Pierre visited Nymans in October 2014 and commented: “My overriding impression from visiting Nymans was le regard (the view). The basis of the sculpture that I have created is themed around the idea of le gaze, which extends to the space where imagination can travel freely.”

His sculptures are multi-faceted, taking on a completely different look and feel at night when they are lit up: “I like how night and day can give you two completely different visions of the same thing; two visions and two ways of reading the work. I like ‘contre-jour’ - backlighting when details disappear and your eyes are drawn to shapes and lines because it lets you discover different things. It can even disturb the viewer a little, like car headlights, but it also creates a new vision briefly.”

Nymans Programme Manager Hollie Ryan: “Nymans has a long artistic heritage through its family links to the Messel family, including famous stage designer Oliver Messel and society photographer Lord Snowdon.

“We felt the Messels might have approved of our new art installations, as they were a very creative and innovative family.”

Pierre studied Fine Arts in Avignon before joining a collective of artists, founding Lola Muance as a means of housing diverse art forms, from music and dance to sculptures. Since the 1990s all of Pierre’s time is devoted to creating sculptural art in public spaces. His creations often feature in festivals, arts centres and universities and his work is generally found outside in both urban and rural settings.

Pierre designs and builds his sculptures in his studio in the south of France before transporting them to where they will be exhibited. He reuses materials whenever he can, from wood, iron and water to fabric, water and soil.

The installation, created in partnership with ArtsAgenda, is one of several projects being undertaken by the National Trust in the South-East, funded by Arts Council England.

Lola Muance outdoor art installation: 12 January to 27 February (10 am- 4pm), normal admission charge only.

Late Friday openings: 23 & 30 January, 6, 13, 20 & 27 February, 5 – 7pm, free entry. Hot drinks and snacks available (at a charge).

For further information visit or call 01444 405250.

Report and pictures contributed by the National Trust.