An experiment too far? University grounds declared ‘danger zone’ as part of art show

Posted by pt91 at Jun 08, 2012 12:40 PM |
‘Deadly shed’ to feature in sculpture exhibition
An experiment too far? University grounds declared ‘danger zone’ as part of art show

Photomontage of #Mimesis by Nick Turvey.

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 8 June 2012

‘I want to bring beauty together with darker and gutsy elements. Some of the artists’ work I’ve chosen shows a wicked sense of humour- sculptor and curator Almuth Tebbenhoff

Pictures are available. Email to request jpegs.

Visitors to the University of Leicester’s botanic garden this summer will be forgiven for thinking they have stumbled into a science experiment gone wrong.

A sinister garden shed adorned with “restricted area” signs and skull and crossbones markings will be one of the unsettling installations to feature in the University’s latest outdoor sculpture exhibition.

‘Interesting Times’, the University of Leicester’s eleventh annual Sculpture in the Garden exhibition, will see the botanic garden – which is also used by the University for bioscience research – turned into a laboratory for experiments in art.

An ominous shed, which emits strange sounds and smells, is part of a series by award-winning sculptor Nick Turvey, and will be exhibited alongside pieces by other sculptors including a larger than life bronze man suspended in space and a set of granite bulbs erupting from the ground like upended mines.

Almuth Tebbenhof
Almuth Tebbenhof at work.

The Sculpture in the Garden show has been curated by sculptor Almuth Tebbenhoff and will bring together work by 19 celebrated artists including William Tucker, RA; Katherine Gili, Eilis O'Connell, David Worthington, Sean Henry.

Tebbenhoff, an elected Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, said: “I’m using part of the botanical garden as it was designed to be used; as a laboratory for experiments. 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.

“I want to bring beauty together with darker and gutsy elements. Some of the artists’ work I’ve chosen shows a wicked sense of humour.”

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.

The annual sculpture exhibition 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 on Sunday 1st July  and will run until Sunday 28th October 2012. Entrance is free except on particular event days – on Sunday 1 July, there is a Plant Sale and Family Day, entrance £3.50 per adult.



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.

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 remained 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. He is an elected Royal Academician. 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.

Mark Cardwell

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