Soil Culture Residencies

Karen Guthrie

at Hauser & Wirth Somerset

This Soil Culture residency was the first partnership residency to take place at Hauser & Wirth Somerset and was awarded to Karen Guthrie. Guthrie’s work is deeply rooted in history – official and unofficial, subjective and objective. From encounters with the life-experiences of communities and people, her film ‘Bata-ville: We Are Not Afraid of the Future’ (co-directed with Nina Pope, 2005) and the film and photographic portrait ‘Exmoor National Dress’ (2008-2009) both originate from her interest in a community’s specific sense of pride and achievement.

From 2008 to 2011, in collaboration with the artist Nina Pope, Guthrie created ‘What Will the Harvest Be?’, a communal harvest garden in East London, commissioned by Newham Council. In 2012, the garden received a Grow for Gold Award from Capital Growth, for The Inspiring Food Garden.

During her time as artist in residence Karen worked closely with Hauser & Wirth staff, meeting their associates, especially those working on the farm and gardens. Instead of the usual plant material of a landscape Karen wanted to capture an essence of soil and place but also find out what happened when soil is distilled, its meaning to distill a place though this method. Saskia Marjoram, gardener at Hauser & Wirth loaned Karen a copper still which was normally used to make herbal concoctions, instead Karen distilled some subsoil found on the Hauser & Wirth land. The resulting liquid is a colourless but pungent liquid.

The residency took place 15-17 and 20-26 October 2014, the Soil Culture Residency focused upon the soils around local food production and the f. There is an opportunity for the residency to link with the Durslade Walled Garden project (a community garden) or local suppliers to the gallery’s restaurant. The work from this residency and the others will be on show at Hauser & Wirth Somerset November to January 2016.

Guthrie is currently Head Gardener for Grizedale Arts’s base Lawson Park, The Lake District, England, a fell side smallholding and art organisation with an ongoing programme of events, projects and residencies. She presented her international preserves at ‘House of Ferment’ with Grizedale Arts at Frieze Art Fair (2012) which is also part of the archive of Musee D’Art Util at the Van Abbe Museum in the Netherlands.

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