A Tower in the Minds of Others


Three garden sheds, wood, glass, steel, 630 (h) x 240 (w) x 24 (d) cm

A Tower in the Minds of Others is a pagoda-like form made from three English garden sheds stacked one on top of the other. A temporary commission for the Tatton Park Biennial (curated by Danielle Arnaud and Jordan Kaplan), the tower overlooked a Japanese Garden designed by Englishmen who had never visited Japan, but had consulted Japanese gardening books. Coutts visited pagodas in Kyoto, Japan in preparation for the tower, discovering that only the emperor of Japan is permitted the view from the top of these structures. Back in the UK, climbing Coutts’ tower was anyway forbidden for Health and Safety reasons, hence the title of the work.

In his review of the Tatton Park Biennial (2008), Kevin Hunt comments on Coutts’s work: ‘This oddly compelling tower exists to accentuate the artifice of the garden, the notion of the natural and therefore purity embedded in something that is essentially man made and orchestrated for the purpose of human satisfaction’.
The Tatton Park Biennial was visited by 100,000 people and was accompanied by a 112-page catalogue, Tatton Park Biennial, 2008. In 2009, the Biennial was short-listed for the Lever Prize and the Museum & Heritage Awards for Excellence in the Creation of a Temporary Exhibition.

Acknowledgements and thanks: to Brendan Flannigan & Peter Hunt from Tatton Park (for their support and patience), Fluid Structures and Capstone Engineering (for structural advice and plans), The Diawa Foundation & The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation (for generous funding) and Danielle Arnaud Contemporary Art.