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Jupiter Artland: Joint Adult Art Group and WHALE Members Trip
By Gemma

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Image credit: Andrew McNiven 

When dreary, gloomy October weather begins, do the Adult Art Group stop? No they do not. Our trip this month took us to the incredible Jupiter Artland, West Lothian, in its penultimate day before closing for Winter and let us say, what an experience it was!

We were fortunate and grateful to be met at the courtyard by 2 incredibly knowledgeable staff members at Jupiter who kindly offered us a walk round of 3 of the main artworks before setting us free on our own adventure.

The first part of our tour took us through a stunning hedged garden and out to the long-standing commissioned piece – Joana Vasconcelos: Gateway (2019).


'Gateway is an artwork integrated within a fully functioning swimming pool and landscaped garden. The pool is nine-metres in diameter and is made up of vibrant, hand-painted, Portuguese tiles.'


We all concluded on visiting this piece that it really is a spectacle and an agreement was made on the spot that we would return for a swim in the warmer months. The piece includes over 11,000 hand painted tiles which make up exquisite patterns and have links to the family who own the land at Jupiter Artland, including hidden star signs of all family members. The piece is positioned in such a way which intersects Earth’s ley lines and the tour talks of the connections between these, spirituality and how it fits within the world.

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Image Credit: Louize Gibson

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Image Credit: Participant Anon.

Moving on, we headed on a leisurely walk down through the woods following the path of motifs where we were told we’d find ‘a surprise’ at the end… and surprise there was! Tucked away hidden in the trees, is Rachel Maclean: Mimi (2021).


'upside mimi ᴉɯᴉɯ uʍop – or Mimi for short – takes the form of an abandoned high-street shop, sited within the woodland at Jupiter Artland. The artwork is a combination of architecture, sculpture and animation, all seen through the lens of Maclean’s signature aesthetic.'


*Friendly Trigger Warning: Despite its appearance, Mimi is not suitable for young children.*


This controversial piece of artwork takes its inspiration from the pressures youngsters face in contemporary society and holds space for viewers to feel discomfort in watching, whilst tackling some of the challenging topics faced by us all both during and in recovery from the recent global pandemic. We all found the piece extremely emotive, in different ways for everyone. Some participants did not enter the space, some watched only a little and others left midway through whilst only a small number stayed for the duration. We all agreed the piece was a visual spectacle and gave credit to the work and thought process of the artist.

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Image Credits: Louize Gibson 

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Drawing Credit: Participant Anon.

The final part of our guided tour took us up to the ballroom garden grounds where the 17th century stone Dovecot and cross-shaped decorative pond lay. The pond is dyed with black ink to represent its holy connections and exhibitions can be seen in the 2 buildings on the grounds. At this time the group begun to split off with some following the guided tour and others relaxing in the garden space.

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Image Credit: Louize Gibson 

Drawing Credit: Participant Anon.

After a brief lunch break, the group then separated again (during periods of dry spells between showers of rain) to explore the stunning and unusual landscapes of the venue including the life mounds (we agreed they seem to resemble something that looks like a large walnut whip) and the ponds (featuring one lonely swan). We also saw various sculptures by an array of artists including, but not exclusively, Andy Goldsworthy, Antony Gormley, Charles Jencks.


A couple of the main pieces we picked out as enjoying the most were Cornelia Parker: Landscape with Gun and Tree and Anya Gallaccio: The Light Pours out of Me.

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Image Credit: Gemma Smith

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Image Credit: Louize Gibson

The group thoroughly enjoyed the trip to this venue and we look forward to returning in nicer weather next year. Jupiter Artland is now closed for Winter but has a couple of festive events running which are advertised on the website.


If you’d like to be involved in this group, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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