Major public artwork unveiled for University’s centenary
Press release issued: 5 October 2009
A major new public sculpture by internationally acclaimed artist Jeppe Hein has been unveiled as part of the University’s centenary celebrations. Entitled ‘Follow Me’, the work is permanently sited in Royal Fort Gardens.
Entitled 'Follow Me', the work is permanently sited in Royal Fort Gardens, which form part of the University's estate but which are open to the public.
The artwork comprises a square labyrinth of 76 vertical polished steel plates sited at the base of an incline leading down from Royal Fort House. Visitors will be encouraged to enter the labyrinth to experience the effect of the work. Once inside, the reflections of participants and surrounding plants and trees are multiplied.
Jeppe Hein was inspired by the University as a place of self-discovery, as well as by the history of the gardens – particularly the designs of 18th-century landscape gardener Sir Humphry Repton, who similarly sought to promote imaginative encounters.
The artist was chosen through an extensive selection procedure involving a shortlist of internationally acclaimed artists. A high-level University committee was established to oversee the process, advised by the curators of the project, Situations, a commissioning and research programme based at the University of the West of England.
Professor Martin White, who chairs the University's public art committee, said:
'I'm very pleased that we found such a gifted and distinguished centenary artist. We needed someone special to help us mark this important anniversary and to do justice to a remarkable site. And we needed an artwork that was contemporary and challenging, but also timeless and capable of engaging a wide variety of people.
'We believe our students and staff, and the general public, will enjoy Jeppe Hein's work from the moment it is launched and for decades to come.'
Jeppe Hein was born in Denmark in 1974 and has gained an international reputation for his imaginative artworks. His water pavilion 'Appearing Rooms' outside the Hayward Gallery in London, for example, has been a recurring success this summer.
He said of the University's new work:
'It has been an honour to create a piece in celebration of Bristol University's centenary, especially in such an inspirational setting.'
Claire Doherty, of Situations, added:
'Jeppe's work encourages playful encounters and often surprises its audiences by playing with optical phenomena, or creating scenarios in which members of the public are encouraged to interact with the artwork. We are delighted that Bristol is now the permanent home of one of Jeppe's remarkable works.'
Professor David Clarke, the University's Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chair of its Centenary Celebrations Project Board, said:
'All along, we have wanted our centenary celebrations to create a legacy - for the city as well as ourselves - and I've no doubt that Jeppe Hein's work will delight and inspire a great many people over the years.'
Professor Clarke added that the University hoped Mr Hein's work would be the first major element in an ongoing public art programme that would enhance the University environment and help boost Bristol's cultural life.
- A podcast interview with Jeppe Hein is available on the art pages of the centenary website.
- Jeppe Hein was born in Denmark in 1974. He has participated in numerous exhibitions internationally, including Frieze Projects, London (2008); The World as a Stage, Tate Modern, London and ICA Boston (2007); Flying Cube, P.S.1. MOMA, New York (2004); and the Venice Biennale (2003). He has also undertaken a series of prestigious permanent commissions. He lives and works in Copenhagen and Berlin.
- Situations is a research and commissioning programme at the University of the West of England, Bristol and includes the commissioning of innovative artists' projects, often outside conventional gallery or museum contexts, curatorial research, public events, talks and seminars and publications.
- 2009 is the 100th anniversary of the granting of the University of Bristol's Royal Charter. The University is marking its centenary in a wide variety of ways. Explore the centenary website to find out more.