The outdoor art installations defining public spaces

The outdoor art installations defining public spaces

Mother Earth by Kris Perry

Forming part of NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks programme, a new, towering public sculpture has sprung up at Rockaway Beach in Queens. Created by Hudson-based contemporary artist, Kris Perry, Mother Earth is comprised of Corten steel and draws on a mix of architectural sources including temples, mosques and the sparsely columned spaces found in classical Greek architecture. Rooted by three towering legs supporting a sharp central spire, the sculpture urges viewers to gaze skyward, while also offering space for introspection. Perry, who primarily works in steel and is known for large-scale, kinetic projects that fuse industrial sound sculpture with live performance, hopes the installation will encourage ‘deep contemplation’, shared experience, and engagement with the natural world. 

Perry’s sculpture will be on view at Rockaway Beach until August 2021; Writer: Harriet Lloyd-Smith. Photography: Angus Mordant

Rockaway Beach
Queens, New York
Twofold, 2019, by Nick Hornby

One’s perception of Nick Hornby’s sculpture literally depends on perspective: using computer algorithms, he cross-pollinates distinctive, often contrasting forms to mesmerising effect. His largest work to date, a 5m tall, Corten steel piece, resembles Michelangelo’s David from one angle, and a line from a 1925 Kandinsky drawing when seen from another. The combination of the most recognisable of Renaissance artworks with an excerpt from one of the past century’s greatest abstract artists is visually arresting as well as thought-provoking – speaking to the entwinement of figuration and abstraction, old and (somewhat) new. It also takes an impressive feat of engineering to steady the gravity-defying form. Titled Twofold, the sculpture was commissioned for the city of Harlow, a new town in Essex with a robust public art collection that has often flown under the radar. Joining the work of Rodin, Hepworth and Chadwick among others, Twofold is a testament to the imagination and finesse of one of contemporary Britain’s most thrilling sculptural talents. Image courtesy of Nick Hornby Studio. Writer: TF Chan
Harlow Science Park
Essex, UK
Conrad Shawcross’ public sculpture Bicameral at Chelsea Barracks

British sculptor Conrad Shawcross’ latest public commission, Bicameral, is a striking sight at the new luxury housing complex of Chelsea Barracks. Three years in the works, the eight-metre tall tree-shaped sculpture draws on the botanical heritage of Belgravia and the nearby Physic Garden. The structure is pieced together using hundreds of three-pronged anodised aluminium components like bits of Meccano decreasing in scale towards the extremities of the branches. The idea taps into the characteristics of Japanese joinery by using no glue or welding and secured only by dowel joints and intelligent engineering. The sculpture’s branches are split into two halves, channelling the concepts in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, a book by Julian Jaynes. ‘The sculpture is a progression of bifurcating and trifurcating elements that fan out from a stem loosely forming two hemispheres or sides,’ Shawcross explains. Writer: Harriet Lloyd-Smith. Photography: Dominic James
Chelsea Barracks
London, UK

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