What kind of a year has 2014 been for you?
This year has been incredible, and packed with so much activity that it feels like 10 years have been squeezed into one! In July we opened Hauser & Wirth Somerset to the public, which felt like a pinnacle moment after two years of intense planning and development. The build up to the opening was challenging, exciting and a rollercoaster of emotions – and that was just the beginning. Since our launch we have welcomed over 65,000 visitors (exceeding all expectations), and hosted a wealth of events, workshops, tours and group visits. It has been absolutely non-stop and I have loved it – a very rewarding and happy year, one that has been shared with so many artists, colleagues and friends.
What has changed for the better and what, if anything, has changed for
In 2014 with the opening of the gallery, I finally saw so many elements that had been months (and even years) in the planning come to fruition, so being able to realise so many of my ambitions for Hauser & Wirth Somerset has been an incredibly positive experience.
What do you wish hadn’t happened this year?
Somerset was beset by some of the heaviest rainfall it has seen in decades at the start of the year and this proved extremely challenging for the contractors and the development of Durslade Farm. I’m pleased to say that despite the deluge, it didn’t stop us having the summer opening we had planned, but it did cause me more than a few sleepless nights.
What do you wish had happened this year, but didn’t?
Beyond the site of Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Durslade is a working farm – much of the meat we serve in the Roth Bar & Grill comes from the farm. We had hoped to launch Durslade Farm Shop in the autumn of 2014, but it was just too much to get everything ready in time, so we will now open in spring 2015. A passion for good, honest food and a celebration of nature is profoundly connected to the gallery’s love of art and culture. The shop will sell a range of produce from the farm including meat, flowers and wool.
What would you characterise as your major achievement this year and why?
This one’s easy – the opening of Hauser & Wirth Somerset. But it’s not just my achievement and I must give credit to the team around me, in particular Iwan and Manuela Wirth, whose vision and determination have been an absolute driving force. Their passion not only for the arts, but also for people, families and the environment has been an absolute inspiration, and has ensured that the model for Hauser & Wirth Somerset has community at its very heart. Seeing over 65,000 visitors of all ages from all backgrounds walking though the doors of Hauser & Wirth Somerset is our proudest achievement – we really feel we are bringing contemporary art to new audiences.
Is there anything you’d like to have done this year but haven’t?
I wish I could have gone to Milan at the start of the year to see the exhibition, Dieter Roth. Björn Roth, at HangarBicocca. Björn is a close friend of the gallery and spent part of the year in Bruton, as part of our artist-in-residence programme, with his two sons. Together they built the bar, which forms the centre of the Roth Bar & Grill. The exhibition in Milan showed 100 works by Björn’s late father, acclaimed Swiss artist Dieter Roth, who is one of my favourite artists. Sadly, I was too busy to attend.
What would make 2015 a better year than 2014?
I’m excited to see Hauser & Wirth Somerset develop in 2015. We have an impressive programme of exhibitions and events planned: in March, we are launching the Radic Pavilion (the 2014 Serpentine Pavilion) at Durslade Farm and we have programmed a wonderful series of talks and conferences on the theme of architecture, to celebrate its launch. We have some amazing exhibitions in the pipeline, including a painting show by acclaimed Chinese artist, Zhang Enli. 2014 has been such a phenomenal year and at the moment it feels like the gallery is going from strength to strength, so I just want to continue building upon that.
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More on a-n.co.uk:
Hauser & Wirth opens new arts centre in Somerset – Julie McCalden reports