“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” Edgar Degas
Art surrounds us and enhances our everyday existence and without it, we would certainly be the poorer. Whether it’s the murals in Angoulême in France, the Hedge Museum in Spain or Jane Bond, the secret agent cow located in Surrey, it takes on many forms and many guises.
The Comic Strip Presents – Perched on a hill above the Charente, Angoulême became the ‘Capital of Paper’ in the Middle Ages when dozens of mills lined the river. Today, quite appropriately, it is internationally renowned as the ‘Capital of the Image’, especially comic strips or bandes dessinées (BD).
Angoulême’s annual festival (26th – 29th January 2017) attracts authors, illustrators and enthusiasts from all over the world, but comic strip fans can enjoy the Musée de la Bande Dessinée at any time of year. Opened in 2009 in an old wine warehouse beside the Charente, its unique collection includes 8,000 original drawings.
What is of interest however are the giant murals – over 20 of them, painted with the kind permission of the town authorities, which are located throughout Angoulême. A map of the murals can be picked up from the tourist office.
There are three themed walking tours so you can see the magnificent Romanesque cathedral of Saint-Peter; enjoy the eclectic collections of the town museum and the panoramic views from the ramparts, scene for the annual Angoulême Circuit des Remparts race for historic cars. The next Circuit des Remparts – the 44th – will take place 26th – 29th January 2017.
Follow the Herd – Powered by the technology of Trak365, a young bovine secret agent, Jane Bond, has cantered onto the forecourt of the Mercure Box Hill Burford Bridge Hotel at the Foot of Box Hill in beautiful Surrey. She’s no ordinary agent – she’s part of the Cow Parade – a herd of individually painted cows that is adding a touch of creative flair to the Surrey countryside. She even has her own blog, currently resides at the hotel where she oversees security and is – at the same time – raising funds for the Royal British Legion. She’s even done her own firearms training – quite important when you have a chef at your residence who just loves cooking beef.
Restaurant come art gallery – When relaunching their gastronomic restaurant Emlyn’s last year, chef Nick Sinclair reached out to local art gallery Bourneside, to enhance his restaurant’s walls and surroundings with examples of the British artists they represent. Working with seven handpicked British artists, Emlyn Restaurant has been hung with a veritable cornucopia of landscapes, local birdlife and flowers.
This new enterprise has became a surprise hit with diners – both visitors and locals alike – who have been regularly purchasing the artwork and carrying it home after their dessert! It’s all part of the property’s alignment with local enterprises to promote the vast wealth of talent there is in this country
An outdoor sculpture museum – Sitting in the grounds of Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine near Valladolid, Spain, lies a most unusual outdoor museum, where box hedges form the walls of a monumental sculpture collection. The aptly named Hedge Museum is dedicated to the work of German artist, Ulrick Rückheim and is sited just a short stroll from the hotel itself. Rückheim extracts massive stones from the earth and reassembles them on the surface.
His austere work is subtly complemented by the museum’s hedge walls which change colour with the seasons – vermillion in the spring, violet in summer and vivid green in the autumn and winter. His pieces can also be seen in the hotel’s church, Santa Maria de Retuerta Abbey.
An art focussed city – The small but perfectly formed city of Basel, Switzerland is nestled in the heart of Europe where three countries meet – Switzerland, Germany and France.
A pocket-sized metropolis, Basel offers nearly 40 museums with long-established collections and regular special exhibitions and has established itself as Switzerland’s capital of art and culture.
However their art is not restricted to their museums but is to be found all over the city, providing interesting juxtapositions contrasting modernism with classic patrician houses, medieval churches and ground-breaking architecture by the major architectural practices of Herzog & de Meuron or Renzo Piano.