Creative art makes most of outdoors

IAN COLLINS In There at the Sainsbury Centre, a summer sculpture show, is spilling Out There - across parkland and woods.


In There at the Sainsbury Centre, a summer sculpture show, is spilling Out There - across parkland and woods.

A £10m project to refurbish the Norman Foster building on the UEA campus is in full swing, with a new internal link between the main display area and the Crescent Wing, extra gallery space and a new education and artists' studio.

But, using the outdoor setting, co-curator Sara Cooper and Amanda Geitner invited eight artists from five continents for a three-week residency to produce work linking the UEA ziggurats, the Foster reconstruction site and the enveloping greenery.

The result - as many joggers and dog-walkers have found - is striking and startling.

Japanese artist Machiko Agano, whose hand-knitted work is well known to Sainsbury Centre audiences, has hung wire and fishing-line mesh threaded with plastic fruit from the branches of a 300-year-old oak tree.

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In Red Breeze, Green Breeze, India's Ranjani Shettar has strung flaming fabric through the trees linked to lines of freshly-sown runner beans and Claire Morgan, from Northern Ireland, has suspended giant metal frames in a stand of willows laced with masses of leaves in the shape of two downward-pointing arrows.

West Africa's El Anatsui has worked wonders with a massive woodpile, the timber ends painted in striped patterns recalling the fabrics of his native Ghana.

Unable to work to her usual monumental scale in toppled timber - for pieces highlighting the devastation and desecration of the Amazon - Brazil's Elisa Bracher has produced a strange structure like a collapsing monolith.

Bogdan Achimescu, a Romanian based in Poland, has produced four doorless tents for mythical Norwich nomads furnished in 1960s suburban styles (I almost broke in during the rainstorm that drenched my visit).

Australia's Fiona Foley's prosaic work with salt-filled cotton bags, an upturned boat and a great deal of red emulsion - a meditation on Gandhi and the Indian independence struggle - seemed to me to have nothing whatsoever to do with its site.

Which was precisely the reverse for Briton Chris Drury's amazing grass maze leading to a vortex of closely-packed timber - scorched and charred at its centre.

Visually exciting, it made me think of all manner of environmental threats - not least drought-fuelled fires (a powerful image even in a downpour). It's a triumph.

Out There can be seen around the Sainsbury Centre (01603 593199) during daylight until the end of August. The Crescent Wing, for guides and loos, is open Mon-Fri 11-5, Sat and Sun 11-4.

Free admission, but car parking at the UEA costs £1.50 for two hours 8am-5.30pm Mon-Fri or a flat £1 fee during evenings and at weekends.