The words on the street – new public art on campus

A new work of public art has been unveiled on campus.

Converse Column, a sculpture by internationally renowned artist, Liliane Lijn, is officially unveiled near Nexus

Converse Column, a sculpture by internationally renowned artist, Liliane Lijn, is officially unveiled near Nexus. July 2019

Converse Column, by internationally renowned British-American artist Liliane Lijn, has been installed outside Nexus, our new innovation hub in Discovery Way.

The 9m-high revolving 'poem machine' features two separate poems turning in opposing directions, one inside the other. Internal lighting will ensure the words are also visible after dark.

The text evolved from phrases submitted by students and colleagues at Leeds, inspired by themes of communication, collaboration, innovation and impact.

Liliane is known for her work with moving text and is a pioneer in the interaction of art, science, technology and language. 

Artist Liliane Lijn and Dennis Hopper, Director of Campus Development, perform the official unveiling of the new sculptureArtist Liliane Lijn and Dennis Hopper, Director of Campus Development, perform the official unveiling of the new sculpture 

Formally switching on her latest work on Wednesday 3 July, with Dennis Hopper, Director of Campus Development, Liliane praised the team that had brought the project to life, saying the finished work’s apparent simplicity belied some significant technical challenges.

“I’ve so much enjoyed collaborating with the team who made this happen,” she added.

The arrival of Converse Column coincides with Yorkshire Sculpture International – a 100-day festival of sculpture across Leeds and Wakefield and the UK’s largest dedicated event of its type.

We are a partner of Yorkshire Sculpture International and have helped organise a series of conversation events open to all, including one following the unveiling with Liliane Lijn and Nigel Walsh, Leeds Art Gallery’s Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. Book your place at the remaining events, which run through to September.

Mr Hopper said: “Yorkshire Sculpture International allows us to showcase the wonderful public art we have on campus.”

DalwoodAnother of the impressive sculptures on campus is this Hubert Dalwood relief 

Public art trail

Another important recent addition to our impressive range of public artwork – which is celebrated with a public art trail that guides visitors, staff and students around the collection – is Henry Moore’s Three Piece Reclining Figure No.2: Bridge Prop.

On long-term loan from Leeds Art Fund, via Leeds Art Gallery, the 1963 work is now outside the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, inside the Parkinson Building.

It joins other sculpture on campus, such as a Hubert Dalwood relief, Simon Fujiwara’s A Spire and Dual Form, by the British sculptor, Barbara Hepworth, also on loan from Leeds Art Gallery.

International reputation

Lijn has an international reputation – developed over more than 50 years – for exploring the relationship between art, science, technology and language.

Her work is represented in both private and public collections around the world. She has produced numerous major public commissions for hospitals, universities, local authorities and commercial companies.

Converse Column references Lijn’s iconic early 1960’s Poem Machines and, more recently, her Poemdrums that spin and disengage words from the composed text.

Born in New York in 1939, she has lived in London since the late 1960s.

She works across media – kinetic sculpture, film, text and performance – to explore language, mythology and the relationship between light and matter. 

Lijn was ACE NASA, Leonardo Network artist in residence at the Space Sciences Laboratory at UC, Berkeley, in 2005. She was shortlisted for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2013.

Lijn’s work has been collected by the Arts Council of Great Britain, the British Council, the British Museum, the Tate Collection, and the V&A Museum. Recent exhibitions include Koans and Poems, The Lobby, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf (2017); Beat Generation, Centre Pompidou (2016); City Sculpture Projects 1972, Henry Moore Institute (2016); a solo show at RCM Galerie, Paris (2015); Images Moving Out Onto Space, Tate St Ives (2015); and Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language, MOMA, New York (2012).

 

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