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Creative Commemoration of The Lost Gardeners of Heligan

4 — 28 November 2008

The Lost Gardens of Heligan will be marking the 90th Anniversary of the Armistice with a Garden Exhibition entitled, ‘The Glasshouse Men’

Creative Commemoration of The Lost Gardeners of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan will be marking the 90th Anniversary of the Armistice with a Garden Exhibition entitled, ‘The Glasshouse Men', between Tuesday 4th and Friday 28th November 2008.

The Glasshouse Men will exhibit Australian born artist, Michèle Noach's stunningly haunting lenticular images. To mark the opening of the exhibition Michèle will be at The Lost Gardens of Heligan on Tuesday 4th November, between 11am and 1pm, giving visitors an exclusive opportunity to meet the creator of these unique art works. Lenticulars are made by interlacing separate images which then have the ability to change or move as the image is viewed from different angles.

"The joy of lenticulars, for me, is that the viewer can partly control what they see, like a very short film or flick book that you can play over and over." - Michèle Noach

Visitors will be able to enjoy this enchanting exhibition (included in normal garden admission prices) by exploring Heligan's Walled Gardens and productive areas. Mounted in the panes of glasshouses and working buildings such as the Melon House, Vinery and Head Gardener's Office, the installation commemorates the Gardeners of Heligan lost in the First World War.

On an early exploration of The Lost Gardens, the Thunder-box Room of the Melon Yard revealed some poignant graffiti: "Don't come here to sleep or to slumber", under which fifteen gardeners had signed their names and written the date - August 1914. The date marked the beginning of the First World War, a war that was to last until November 1918. Heligan, its gardeners, their families and friends were not to be spared the trauma, heartbreak and death that ensued.

"This installation is a reminder that everything was affected, everything sacrificed, everything decimated. Even gardens. This is a short-term celebration and memorial for those families of the gardeners, many of whom still live locally. I am hoping to make the vanished lives of those gardeners briefly vivid again." - Michèle Noach

Armistice has come to signify not only the ending of World War One but also its anniversary serves as a time to reflect on all conflicts both past and present. The installation of these distinctive lenticular images in turn draws on the American Civil War, the first truly "photographed" war, after which the poverty-stricken Confederates were reduced to recycling the glass photographic plates of themselves, as glasshouse panes. These held fading images of the dead or defeated soldiers for years, until the sun bleached them away. Michele Noach's lenticular panes, made for occasional sections of the Heligan glasshouses, will act as an echo of this post-Civil War practice.

Heligan's timeless atmosphere is epitomised by a sense of human history and a strong sense of place. It is evoked through the working buildings and horticultural practices of past and present influence employed in the Productive Gardens today. Throughout the gardens the relics of times gone by stand in living testament to the everyday life that revolved around Heligan and act to preserve the past whilst living in the present. This installation draws heavily on the historic atmosphere of Heligan and serves to remind us of the great loss suffered by both local and international communities after the First World War.
"Heligan has something of a reputation for ghosts: I'm hoping to provide them with a window to look out from." - Michèle Noach

Michèle Noach - Artist Background

Artoonist Michèle Noach, also a cryptic crossword compiler for many years, works mainly in printed media and currently on large-scale lenticular (3D) pieces. In 1987 she was the commissioned artist for Liberty in London and has since exhibited extensively and internationally. She showed at the Natural History Museum in London, The Liverpool Biennial, Hamburg and this summer in Tokyo as part of the Cape Farewell exhibition, featuring work from the artists and scientists who in 2004 sailed to the High Arctic in a 1909 schooner to investigate climate change. She will be on Cape Farewell's next voyage in September.
Michèle Noach's new solo show is at The Curwen Gallery, London this December.

‘The Glasshouse Men' - Project Background

"The project that became The Glasshouse Men came from an unexpected visit to the Lost Gardens of Heligan in 2007. I was actually visiting Eden with fellow artists regarding a long-term commission there, when we were lucky enough to be taken around Heligan." - Michèle Noach

"I was very affected by The Lost Gardens, and felt moved in a way I couldn't specifically identify but seemed connected to its past and also its extraordinary location and atmosphere. The detailed guided walk we were lucky enough to have with Candy Smit and Peter Hampel added crucial and inspiring information. As a result of this, when we returned home I realised I was thinking continually about the place, even though Eden was our main commission. Without much fuss, a fully formed piece of work developed before my eyes." - Michèle Noach

Lenticulars - Information

Lenticulars are made by interlacing (in this case three) separate images and placing a plastic screen over the top which comprises thousands of lensed ridges. This enables the viewer to see any one of the 3 images from slightly varying positions.

"I normally use three images that I have done either as paintings, drawings, monoprints or etchings. For Heligan I also used a few photographs, but treated them quite heavily. These three images are then locked in slices and only made comprehensible when the lensed screen is placed, very accurately, on top." - Michèle Noach

For further information please do not hesitate to contact:
Lorna Tremayne - Media/Marketing Manager
Tel: 01726 843740 Email: pr@heligan.com