The outdoor art installations defining public spaces

The outdoor art installations defining public spaces

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.

nickhornby.com. 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.

chelseabarracks.com. Writer: Harriet Lloyd-Smith. Photography: Dominic James
Chelsea Barracks
London, UK
Inflatable Yayoi Kusama sculpture at Place Vendôme, Paris

Yayoi Kusama breezed into Paris this week, with a major public artwork conceived specifically for the Place Vendôme as part of FIAC Hors les Murs. But, shortly after its unveiling, the artwork was taken down due to high winds in Paris this week. Presented in collaboration by her galleries Victoria Miro, David Zwirner and Ota Fine Arts, the 10m-tall Life of the Pumpkin Recites, All About the Biggest Love for the People was the 90-year-old Japanese artist’s largest inflatable pumpkin sculpture to date.

fiac.com. Photography: Marc Domage. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, David Zwirner and Victoria Miro
Place Vendôme
Paris, France

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