University of Leicester exhibition showcases 'interesting times' in sculpture

Posted by pt91 at Feb 27, 2012 10:00 AM |
The University of Leicester’s annual sculpture exhibition takes an unsettling twist in 2012, weaving gutsy large-scale pieces through its historic botanical garden
University of Leicester exhibition showcases 'interesting times' in sculpture

Almuth Tebbenhoff, curator of the Sculpture in the Garden exhibition 2012.

Pictures are available. Email to request jpegs.

A sinister garden shed, a larger than life-sized ‘Floating Man’, and granite bulbs that emerge out of the ground like upended mines will all feature in the University of Leicester’s outdoor sculpture exhibition this year. 

The provocative show, entitled ‘Interesting Times’, is sculptor Almuth Tebbenhoff’s first foray into curating. She brings together works by 19 celebrated sculptors, including Nick Turvey, David Worthington, Sean Henry, Ann Christopher, Katherine Gili, and Mary Bourne.

Tebbenhoff herself is an elected Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors. She has exhibited her work at two of Leicester’s previous Sculpture in the Garden exhibitions – first in 2005 and again in 2007 – and her suspended steel sculpture 'Flying Colours' resides in the David Wilson University Library.

“I’m using the botanical garden as it was designed to be used; as a laboratory for experiments,” she explains. “People enjoy the romantic aspect of a garden, but I want to balance that to show that nature can be cruel and unpredictable at the same time as being beautiful.”

Located in Oadby, three miles south-east of Leicester city centre, the University’s diverse botanical garden has been used for scientific research and education since it was established in 1947. The unique 16-acre site houses an arboretum, herb garden, water garden, and a series of glasshouses.

‘Interesting Times’ is the University of Leicester’s eleventh annual Sculpture in the Garden exhibition. The event attracts around 30,000 people every year, and has hosted over 380 sculptures since its inception.

“The University is maintaining its commitment to supporting the arts,” says Leicester’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Robert Burgess. “The Garden offers artists an inspirational space in which to exhibit, and we are delighted to welcome such a prestigious group of sculptors this year.”

A press preview will be held on Saturday 30th June. ‘Interesting Times’ will open to the public from Sunday 1st July until Sunday 28th October 2012

Sculptors may be available for interview at the press preview.   Please check details with Stella Couloutbanis, Visual Arts Manager, Embrace Arts, Richard Attenborough centre, University of Leicester, email,  Tel:  0116 223 1529, mobile 07854 777 432.

For further details contact Stella Couloutbanis,  email,  Tel:  0116 223 1529, mobile 07854 777 432, and from the botanical garden at

Pictures are available. Email to request jpegs.

#Crypsis (2012) by Nick Turvey. Garden shed, paint, plastic containers, camouflage netting, branches. Photo credit: Nick Turvey (drawing)
#Mimesis (2012) by Nick Turvey. Garden shed, wood, paint. Photo credit: Nick Turvey (photomontage)
Full Fathom
Full Fathom (2009) by Halima Cassell, Hand carved, unglazed clay sculpture on stone base. Photo credit: David Knowles
Distribution of Wealth
Distribution of Wealth (2004) by Brigitte Jurack, ceramic. Photograph credit: Brigitte Jurack
Man With Potential Selves
Man With Potential Selves (2000) by Sean Henry, Bronze, all weather paint, 211cm wide. Photo: Edition 1/4
Walking Man
Walking Man (1998) by Sean Henry, Bronze, Oil Paint, 80 ins / 203 cm.
Witness (2001) by Keith Rand. Oak, lead, copper, rust. Slate base. 251 x 35 x 20cm. Photo Credit: Sue Seiger


Suggested feature ideas:

A chemist’s laboratory

Explore the history of the botanic garden, and inform domestic gardeners about medicinal, edible and other useful plants. Include interviews with staff from the University of Leicester’s Department of Biology and gardeners at the botanical garden.                                      

Grand dames

Most of the exhibitors for ‘Interesting Times’ are female. Curator Almuth Tebbenhoff says: “Larger sculpture tends to come from men, but there are some wonderfully strong women sculptors making bigger pieces at the moment.” Look at female sculptors who believe size matters, including comment from Ann Christopher (RA), Mary Bourne, Brigitte Jurack, Halima Cassell, Eilis O’Connell, Katherine Gili, and Almuth Tebbenhoff.

Outward bound

Why are al fresco sculpture exhibitions currently so popular? From the life-sized men Anthony Gormley displayed through London and New York to Anish Kapoor’s reflective sculptures in Kensington Gardens. Interview the University of Leicester on the value of their annual Sculpture in the Garden exhibition, and curator Almuth Tebbenhoff on the popularity of outdoor exhibitions.

About the artists

The sculptor Almuth Tebbenhoff is curating the University of Leicester’s Sculpture in the Garden exhibition for the first time in its 11-year history. Born in Germany, Tebbenhoff trained at the Sir John Cass School of Art in London from 1972-75 and has remain based in the UK ever since, clocking up 35 years’ experience as a sculptor, art teacher and visiting lecturer. Tebbenhoff is an elected Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, and has exhibited all over the world. In 2003, she was shortlisted for the Battle of Britain Memorial in Central London, and in 2009 she was commissioned to produce a sculpture for the BFI London Film Festival awards. 

Sixteen artists have been carefully selected to show their work in the ‘Interesting Times’ exhibition. The following brief biographies profile a selection of them:

William Tucker studied sculpture at Central Saint Martins under Sir Anthony Caro. In 2010, he received the International Sculpture Center’s Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture award.

Eilis O'Connell, lives and works in Ireland. She is a member of the artists’ affiliation, Aosdana, and of the Royal Hibernian Academy.

David Worthington is the Vice-President of the Royal British Society of Sculptors. He was shortlisted for the Jerwood Sculpture Prize in 2009.

Sean Henry has exhibited all over the world, including recent solo exhibitions at Salisbury Cathedral, the Forum Gallery in New York, and the Gallerie Andersson Sandstrom, Stockholm.

Ann Christopher is a multi award-winning sculptor who is both a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors and an elected Member of the Royal Academy.

Mary Bourne, lives in the North East of Scotland. She has won numerous awards, and exhibited in both solo and group shows, principally throughout Scotland.

Brigitte Jurack is a practicing sculptor and lecturer who has taught at a number of UK universities. She is currently senior lecturer in sculpture at Manchester Metropolitan. Jurack was selected for one of eight International Artist Residencies at the Irish Museum of Modern Art during 2010.

Halima Cassell was born in Pakistan and raised in Manchester. She has exhibited at the V&A and the Jerwood Foundation in London. In 2011, she won the Brian Mercer Stone Carving residency in Pietrasanta, Italy and was elected to the Fellowship for the CPA.

Katherine Gili has had solo exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery in London, at the Salander O’Reilly Gallery in New York, and numerous mixed shows, including those at the Hayward, The Tate and the Royal Academy in London

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