Artwork on Campus
I was reading the news last night, and I came across an article about newly listed works of art. While scrolling through, I came across one that looked quite familiar – it’s that red thing near Rootes!
After a little bit more reading, I found out that it’s actually called 3B Series No 1, and it’s by Bernard Schottlander. Apparently, it was commissioned by the university’s original architects, to add a splash of colour to campus.
There is art everywhere on campus, which I see all the time – but I haven’t the foggiest idea what most of them are. This got me thinking. I’m definitely no art expert, but I am, all of a sudden, quite curious about the art on campus. So, I went off on a walk to take some photos and find out more. They’re by no means the only artworks on campus, but they are the ones that I’ve most often thought about.
White Koan, Liliane Lijn
In front of the Arts Centre
Where would an article about art at Warwick be without mentioning this? The Koan is pretty huge, and as it’s just outside the Arts Centre, I walk past it a lot – so it’s pretty hard to miss. At night, it gets lit up in blue and white, and the top part spins.
It’s probably the most well-known sculpture on campus. Since it was installed in 1972, it’s been the source of many rumours – depending on what you choose to believe, legend has it that there are eight nightclubs beneath it, or someone living inside it. A third year once told me that it’s the birthplace of all traffic cones. The Koan has a special following – this past week, I’ve seen a lot of people taking graduation photos with it, and it has its own Twitter account (@warwickkoan, because what else would it be?). In days gone by, the Koan had a comic strip dedicated to it, and there was also a Koan Society.
Flayed Stone III, Peter Randall-Page
Behind Senate House
This is another of the sculptures that I walk past a lot. I’ve always thought of it as looking a bit like a fingerprint. It’s carved in granite, and apparently Randall-Page chose to work with stone because it “can confront us with a sense of our own existence”.
Around Zero, Michael Stallard
I walk through the Chaplaincy Garden sometimes – it always feels so peaceful, even among the hustle and bustle of thousands of people heading to lectures. It suits the feel of the Garden very well, I think – it has a much softer shape than many of the sculptures on campus, and I can’t imagine something like the Koan fitting in so well.
Let’s Not Be Stupid, Richard Deacon
Entrance to the University
This is another of the ones that’s quite hard to miss. According to the Warwick website, it’s 15 metres long, and in my experience is especially visible from the buses leaving campus. I’ve sometimes thought of it as looking like a heart, or a violin, or maybe even a pair of kidneys. The title was chosen to avoid giving the sculpture any particular meaning, so I suppose there are a lot of valid ways of looking at it.
Needle of Knowledge Obelisk, Stefan Knapp
Behind the Ramphall Building
I can’t really find much information on this one, but I remember seeing it when I first came to look around Warwick. I quite like the bold use of colour, in contrast to a lot of the quite plain-coloured buildings on campus.
Everything, Ian Davenport
Inside the Zeeman Building
As a maths student, this one is a bit of a favourite. It was commissioned to be painted directly onto the wall of the department, and suits the space perfectly. Given the sheer scale of it, it reminds me of a waterfall. On a large scale, the stripes of paint look perfect, but closer up, you can see the imperfections, and the bits where the paint pooled at the bottom. I like the pools of paint the most – they make it feel alive, and show how the painting was made. The exact path of the paint wasn’t chosen by the artist, but it was left to chance – which I think is very fitting for a maths and stats department.