Nearness, by artist Sam Smith

A misty morning at Stourhead, with the Pantheon emerging through the mist

Launching at the end of April, visitors are invited to experience ‘Nearness’ an artwork created by Sam Smith, directly inspired by Stourhead, and the theme ‘model landscape’.

As part of ‘Trust New Art’, the National Trust’s programme of contemporary arts, video and performance artist Sam Smith has been commissioned to create a site-specific two-part video work and mapped walk through Stourhead, 'Nearness'.

" During my time at Stourhead, I’ve been considering the place as a microcosm of broader ecologies. It’s a location where complex notions of custodianship and care – planning hundreds of years into the future – meld with daily actions carried out by the many human and more-than-human inhabitants buzzing within the site. "
- Sam Smith

Exploring Stourhead through new art

The project, developed in direct response to the ecosystems of the estate throughout Sam’s residencies over the past year, will begin with a multiscreen video installed in the 18th century library within Stourhead House.

The work continues with a walk curated by the artist, to a second video placed in the garden.

The interconnectedness of things

'Nearness' is a work of fuzzy boundaries, closeness and the interconnectedness of things where the audience is invited to linger and think with the myriad human and nonhuman inhabitants of Stourhead. 

Shown across multiple screens, documentary footage is coalesced with speculative fictions and edited in a rhythmical fluid style, denying singular temporal and spatial perspectives.

Trust New Art at Stourhead

The creation of 'Nearness' is one of the many creative partnerships between artists and National Trust places and is part of the ‘Trust New Art’ programme, which connects people to places through contemporary arts.

Visitors can view Sam’s final work exhibited at Stourhead throughout the year from Saturday 27 April until Monday 30 September.

It is hoped that through this project, the exploration of Stourhead as a ‘living work of art’ – its story, the genius of its creation, and the required stewardship of the site over centuries – will continue to inspire new art, provoke questions and enhance emotional connections time and time again.