Sunday, 5 June 2011

The Garden of Eden meets Dionysus

From one end of the country to the other and the Eden project in Cornwall. This was once a disused clay pit which has been transformed by the use of  "biomes" ( large plastic bubbles to the rest of us) into a global garden.

The scale is quite breathtaking and in the rainforest biome you could quite easily be in a sanitised rainforest. An aerial walkway gives panoramic views of the interior. In keeping with the educational nature of the project there are some static displays depicting village houses and an eye opening area of devastation representing the amount of rainforest cut down every ten minutes.

Next door is the  Mediterranean biome with the most amazing piece of installaton art - The Rite of Dionysus by the sculptor Tim Shaw.

Dionysus himself is represented as a huge copper bull in a vineyard and  surounded by the maenads or the "raving ones".

Classically the maenads were portrayed as inspired by Dionysus into a state of ecstatic frenzy, through a combination of dancing and drunkeness until all self control was lost and they would  hunt down animals  and tear  them to pieces.

The spirit of this frenzy has been captured manificently by Shaw in his depiction of the dancing maenads.
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