In this month's 'Spotlight', Curator Layla Bloom explores the significance of our inspiring new public artwork, 'A Spire', by Simon Fujiwara.
Image: Simon Fujiwara, 'A Spire' (4 views), 2015, cast jesmonite (c) The Artist
On 11 June, following a lively symposium, 'Curating the Campus,' Sir Alan Langlands formally launched the University's newest public art work, alongside the artist, Simon Fujiwara, at the Laidlaw Library.
Fujiwara's piece, 'A Spire', is a skyward timeline of Leeds innovation - from its coal-dusted industrial roots, through to the organic forms of modern technology. Lichen and vine forms wind their way up to the top of the work, which culminates in a green roof (not yet visible!) which should begin to grow and overhang the work in time. The chimney form, flanked by two church spires, and overlooked by Parkinson clocktower, reflects not only Leeds's history as the 'city of 100 chimneys' but also signals that the library building it adorns is furnace of learning for our undergraduate students.
The British-Japanese artist Simon Fujiwara is already known in Leeds for his work recently acquired for Leeds Art Gallery, 'Rebekkah'. Fujiwara developed 'A Spire' after several research visits to the University of Leeds, where he met staff and researchers, and explored current research projects in subjects as diverse as plant biology and robotics. A small display in the Gallery over the summer shows Fujiwara's process in creating the piece.
Poet Helen Mort, the University's Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow, read her 4-part poem 'Spires', which was commissioned for the launch of the new sculpture. Mort has also written poems for 'The Dreamer' and 'Meet, Sit and Talk', which you can read in our Public Art Trail, available at the Gallery. If you, too, feel inspired, we welcome your poetic responses to our public art for inclusion in next year's Trail!