Sainsbury Centre's Sculpture Park sees art echo architecture
PUBLISHED: 13:33 01 August 2018
Archant Norfolk 2018
Striking figures, iconic architecture and geometric masterpieces await visitors to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts’ Sculpture Park. Arts correspondent Emma Knights finds out more.
From the amazing architecture of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts’ building to the hat-trick of geometric beasts that stand guard outside and the intriguing red tower that has sprung up next door, there is all manner of creativity to discover at the Norwich venue’s growing Sculpture Park.
Taking art out of the traditional indoor gallery setting and placing it in the great outdoors for all to see, the Sculpture Park features more than 15 major works that are dotted around the University of East Anglia campus.
Henry Moore, Sir Antony Gormley and Lynn Chadwick are among the artists featured, and together the collection spans an array of distinctive styles and also the history of the university itself which dates back to the 1960s.
“There was an idea for a sculpture park even going back as far as the founding of the university and there are a number of older sculptures in the park,” said Ghislaine Wood, deputy director of the Sainsbury Centre.
“This is one of the earliest ones,” she said, pointing out a towering cube-inspired sculpture by Henry H Clyne called Variations on a Square.
“Then there is a John Hoskin from 1968, so these early, very British, geometric pieces, constructivist pieces, were among the first.”
Three of Henry Moore’s famous figures can also be spotted in the UEA landscape and are linked to the opening of the Sainsbury Centre which was built to house the vast art collection of Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury which they generously gifted to the university.
“The Henry Moore sculptures were sited by Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury with Henry Moore himself when the building was built in 1978,” said Ghislaine.
“Two of these Henry Moores belong to us and one belongs to the Tate, that’s been on long-term loan to us since the beginning.”
While there has long been art in the UEA grounds, Ghislaine said the idea to really develop the Sculpture Park started in earnest about two years ago with the arrival of Sir Antony Gormley’s 3x Another Time figures on top of the UEA’s Teaching Wall and Library which sparked a huge array of debate.
Another relatively recent addition is Tatlin’s Tower, a striking red replica of a landmark once destined for Saint Petersburg that sprung up as part of the Sainsbury Centre’s Russian Season last year.
And as well as people being able to enjoy the sculptures, the idea is that the park also shines a spotlight on the university’s striking architecture, including the landmark Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts building designed by Lord Foster.
“One thing that is quite unique about this sculpture park as opposed to others is that we have also got buildings of huge architectural importance as well,” said Ghislaine.
“Obviously we have got the Sainsbury Centre, which was Lord Foster’s first public building, but also we have got Denys Lasdun’s amazing Ziggurats and architecture by Rick Mather.
“One of the ideas is that you not only get the experience of the sculptures but also see the amazing modern architecture of the campus as well.”
Lynn Chadwick’s three Beasts sculptures, which arrived earlier this year as part of Norfolk and Norwich Festival and are among Ghislaine’s favourite works, highlight just how well the Sculpture Park accentuates the architecture.
“We really like Chadwick, he’s a really good sculptor for us to think about because he trained as an architectural draughtsman,” said Ghislaine.
“It’s great for this whole idea about the way the sculptures interact with the architecture. Beasts are steel sculptures and the Sainsbury Centre is one of the most important steel space frame buildings in the country, also the forms of the Beasts echo the shapes of the Lasdun architecture as well.”
Another Chadwick work - called Pair of Walking Figures - Jubilee - has also very recently been installed at the park and in the autumn two Elisabeth Frink sculptures will arrive to coincide with a new exhibition.
Ghislaine said there were plans to add more art to the Sculpture Park in the future and to keep things fresh with a changing programme of works.
And she added the Sculpture Park also aimed to highlight the art of Mother Nature on the UEA campus too.
“We have got ancient oak trees, we’ve got the lake, so it’s a combination of the natural features of the campus which are quite outstanding as well as the architecture and the sculpture. It really is a complete day out.”
Entry to the Sculpture Park is free and a new map of the Sculpture Park can be downloaded at www.scva.ac.uk or picked up at the Sainsbury Centre.
Some of the art and architecture to discover at the Sculpture Park
• Lynn Chadwick’s geometric creatures, Beast Alerted I (1990), Crouching Beast II (1990) and Lion I (1990).
• Lynn Chadwick’s bronze
figures marking the Queen’s 1977 Jubilee.
• Three Henry Moore figures, Draped Reclining Woman (1957-58), Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 3 (1961) and Reclining Figure (1956-62).
• A replica of Tatlin’s Tower intended for St Petersburg but never built (1919-20/2011).
• Three Sir Antony Gormley figures, Another Time II, IV, VIII (2007).
• Liliane Lijn’s Extrapolation (1982) which was inspired by the pages of a book as it was created for the Norwich Central Library.
• Henry H Clyne’s Variations on a Square (1964) which reflects the Brutalist campus setting.
• John Hoskin’s abstract sculpture One for Bristol (1968).
• Ian Tyson’s sculpture Proximity (2006) which was designed to echo the Ziggurats.
• Elisabeth Frink’s sculptures Mirage I and II (1969) will be arriving in the autumn.
• The iconic Ziggurats (1962-68) which were among Denys Lasdun’s first buildings for the UEA.
• The Sainsbury Centre (1974-78) itself was the first public building designed by Lord Foster.
• Rick Mather’s Constable Terrace (1989-93) was built as part of Mather’s masterplan for the UEA campus.