Legacy of 9/11 commemorated in sculpture on show at University of Leicester Botanic Garden

Posted by er134 at Sep 02, 2014 11:55 AM |
A sculpture which marks the horrors of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre is one of the many exceptional works on show at the University of Leicester’s annual Sculpture in the Garden exhibition

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 2 September 2014

Contact pressoffice@le.ac.uk to request images

As it rocks gently above the placid lawn of the University of Leicester's Harold Martin botanic garden, Rocking Lady - a marble figure by sculptor Angela Conner - may seem at first like an image of tranquillity.

But closer inspection reveals a subtle sense of despair and disruption.

The figure of a woman lies on her back, suspended above the grass, with legs slightly crossed and arms brought forward above her torso.

Intriguingly, the entire top surface of the figure – including the woman’s face and upper arms – has been completely removed, leaving a completely flat, polished surface.

It is an unsettling juxtaposition to the gracefulness of the woman’s pose. What is she thinking? And what are her missing arms protecting her from?

We can’t know for sure – but an answer may lie in the sculptor’s admission that the work was intended to mark the legacy of the 9/11 attacks.

The sculpture sits on top of an inconspicuous perspex mount, which keeps the body in place but allows it to rock gently in the wind.

“This sculpture was made not for a commission, but as a personal response after the horrors of 9/11,” said sculptor Angela Conner.

“It expresses feelings that are timeless. The woman’s arms hide her face in her need for both physical protection, and to try and find a state of grace in the horror of our own species killing itself.

“Rocking Lady was originally made as a conventional figure, however I felt this was not striking nor interesting enough, and cut the top surface right the way through, polishing the stone where the cut had been made.

“This created wonderful abstract shapes. The final development was to install a simple bearing set in an almost invisible perspex support. The form rocks gently whether the wind is harsh or soft.”

Curator Helaine Blumenfeld said: “From the outset we were keen to include Angela in the 2014 edition of Sculpture in the Garden. Nature and natural forces are an essential part of her sculpture.

“Angela mobilises water, wind, gravity and the sun, channelling their shape as they interact with figures to suggest a vision within the landscape. Rocking Lady seems at home in natural surroundings -- the outstretched figure with its blank expression rocks gently in the wind, inviting the viewer to empathy and wonder.”

The work is one of 45 sculptures by 33 carefully selected, internationally-acclaimed artists on show at the 16-acre Harold Martin Botanic Garden until October 26.

The show has been curated by acclaimed sculptors Helaine Blumenfeld and John Sydney Carter. It celebrates the legacy of the University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Robert Burgess, who retires at the end of this month after 15 years' service.

Ends

For more information, please contact Angela Conner at: angela.conner@tiscali.co.uk

Harold Martin Botanic Garden

The University of Leicester Harold Martin Botanic Garden was founded in 1921 with the assistance of the Leicester Literary & Philosophical Society, and has been on its present site in Oadby since 1947. It comprises the grounds of four houses: Beaumont, Southmeade, The Knoll and Hastings, which were built early in the 20th century and are now used as student residences. The four once-separate gardens have been merged into a single entity. Its 16 acres display an array of interesting features, including an arboretum, a herb garden, woodland and herbaceous borders, rock gardens, a water garden, the National Collections of Skimmia, Aubrieta, hardy Fuchsia and Lawson’s Cypress, and a series of glasshouses displaying temperate and tropical plants, alpines and succulents. There is also an associated arboretum.  The gardens, which are open to the public free of charge all year round, are the site of scientific research carried out by students and SEED (Support for Education in Environment and Development), the education programme of the University of Leicester Botanic Garden.

Helaine Blumenfeld:  http://www.helaineblumenfeld.com/HelaineBlumenfeld/Home.aspx

John Sydney Carter:  http://www.johnsydneycarter.com/main.html

This year’s artists:  Tom Allan; Carole Andrews; Salvatore Anselmo; Michael Dan Archer; Richard Baronio; Jay Battle; Hanneke Beaumont; Robin C.H. Bell; Helaine Blumenfeld; Jon Buck; Sydney Carter; Halima Cassell; Angela Conner; Stephen Duncan; Laurence Edwards; Ken Ford; Bill Forster; Maria Gamundi; Andrea Geile; Lorna Green; Miles Halpin; HEX; Margaret Lovell; Diane Maclean; Rebecca Newnham; Peter Newsome; Louise Plant; Guy Portelli; Peter Randall-Page; Shelley Robzen; Almuth Tebbenhoff; Richard Thornton; Peter Walker.

For interviews contact:

Stella Couloutbanis

Co Project Manager

Sculpture in the Garden 2014

Email sculptureshow@leicester.ac.uk

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