Enter The Dragon

14th April 2016
carolineroux.jpg Caroline Roux

If you go down to the woods this summer, you will discover the Cass Foundation’s spectacular show of 15 new works by Chinese artists, including a giant pigeon house and a 7-metre bust of Mao.


The Cass Foundation’s sculpture park, tucked away in rolling woodland on the edge of the Goodwood estate, with minimal signage, can be hard for newcomers to spot. From this May, however, it will stand out quite a bit more, at least for those who can read Chinese characters: the Hong Kong-based artist Zheng Bo has chosen the roadside verges as the location for his latest work, which will spell out the words “socialism good” in a mixture of English summer plants. Referring to the slogans that were splashed across banners and walls in Tiananmen Square during the 1989 student uprisings, it will be an artistic cross-pollination of the first degree.

This is not business as usual, however. The foundation was set up in 1992 by Wilfred and Jeanette Cass to commission, exhibit, and ultimately sell contemporary British sculpture. And up until now, it has stuck firmly to its brief. In its 24 years of existence, 400 new works have been delivered and more than 200 artists, including big names such as Rachel Whiteread, have felt the benefit of the Cass Foundation’s support. Newer sculpture foundations and venerable institutions from around the world look to the Cass for advice and to make acquisitions (Oslo’s Ekeberg Park recently bought Lynn Chadwick’s 2001 Ace of Diamonds III, a captivating kinetic piece in stainless steel; the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art has snapped up Anthony Caro’s The Tower of Discovery from 1991), while homegrown schemes such as the Fourth Plinth project in Trafalgar Square sought out the Cass’s expertise when it was inititated in 1999. If you didn’t like the swirling metal abstractions by Tony Cragg that decorated Exhibition Road in South Kensington in 2012, then blame Wilfred and Jeanette for that, too. The pair keep between 10 and 20 per cent of the profits from sales to run the foundation, and the rest goes back to the artists. “This is not about entertainment,” Wilfred Cass has said of his seriously well-intentioned operation...

Featured image: 'Pigeon House' by Cui Jie

A Beautiful Disorder  
May 15 - November 2016

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