You are currently viewing all entries with the tag: outdoor sculpture

Major British Landmark Sculpture

Tags: Public Commission, Outdoor Sculpture, Public Space, Press

29th August

I am thrilled to announce that I have won a major public sculpture commission to be sited in the raw beauty of Northumberland. This 55 metre contemporary sculpture celebrates Queen Elizabeth II's service to country and her life-long dedication to The Commonwealth.

Simon Hitchens - Elizabeth Landmark sculpture - car park view

The Elizabeth Landmark will become a new cultural destination on the Ray Estate and in the north of England, benefiting the local community and economy by being a catalyst for regeneration.

Simon Hitchens - Elizabeth Landmark sculpture - zoom

Made from Corten weathering steel, this elevated slice of hillside has been inspired by the rugged and undulating landscape in which it sits. The elegant and robustly engineered aerodynamic form references the rich history of local iron ore and stone mining. Lateral fins which change in pitch and frequency as they rise up the sculpture accentuate the sense of perspective and movement, creating contrasting shadows along its 85 metre length.

Simon Hitchens - Elizabeth Landmark sculpture - Rock Slot

Directly shaped by the topography of the hill, the delicately arched form would completely disappear if placed back into the hill beneath. The carved space left in the hillside below, which has given rise to the positive sculpture above, forms a canyon-like rock slot. To walk this from end to end will be to experience the geology of the local landscape: a walk through Deep Time itself.

Simon Hitchens - Elizabeth landmark sculpture - Concept Sketch

The specific topography of Cold Law hill in Northumberland has directly informed not just the sculpture and the rock slot, but also the circumnavigating system of paths, which allow ever changing perspectives of the sculpture whilst walking around it. Like a reverse giant gnomon of a sundial, the sculpture points directly to the sun at its zenith on Midsummer’s day.

Simon Hitchens studio portrait 2

"To have the opportunity to design a landmark sculpture to be placed in this raw and beautiful landscape is undoubtedly a privilege and a challenge that I wholeheartedly relish. The success of the sculpture will grow from a sensitivity to land and place: born in form, material and presence from the majestic geography that supports it."

 

Cheeseburn

Tags: Group Exhibition, Outdoor Sculpture, Public Sculpture

30th April

Today was a good day, installing two sculptures: sun on my back, lifting tackle, rock, sculpture, machines, and helpful assistants. There's a job to be done, everything is thought through and it runs like clockwork, almost like a choreographed performance (well, perhaps thats pushing it a little). Whilst it is physically pretty hard and mentally taxing, thinking about every eventuality, it actually seems like a day off. I guess thats the wonder of working out of doors!

Installing at Cheeseburn

So now these two favourites pieces belong to the Northumbrian landscape, at Cheeseburn Grange. CG is a beautiful set of buildings set within stunning gardens which have the feel of a large country house, yet the scale and intimacy of a personal project. There is a fantastic variety of sculpture to be found, from large well crafted statements, to small and gentle interventions. Open for selected weekends over the summer - see below.

The Other I   Cheeseburn

Cheeseburn Grange
Stamfordham
Northumberland
NE18 0PT
info@cheeseburn.com
cheeseburn.com

Open weekends:
May 19th/20th
May 26th/27th/28th
June 30th/July 1st
July 7th/8th
August 25th/26th/27th
September 1st/2nd

 

10 Public Sculptures

Tags: Outdoor Sculpture, Press, Public Sculpture
IMG_6356

20th April
After months of hard work I finally have this publication in my hands - and it feels good, really good.

10 Public Sculptures showcases my work dotted around the country in a beautiful designed book. Its layout is clear and descriptive with powerful images of my sculptures within the public realm. It has a super introduction by Anne Elliott and an brilliant contextualising essay by Tom Flynn in the centre. There is all the usual information about what, how, when, where etc. alongside a visual story line of two of the sculptures.

Very much celebrating my larger public work, which complements my studio based practice and gallery explorations, I had a pretty clear idea what I wished the book to do commercially. So it was a joy and an education to work with the design company Antman who held my hand through the subtle process of design layout, choice of stock, image selection and text, all of which achieves the design brief whether you give it a quick three second flick through, or a longer in-depth read. There's something gorgeous about its rubberised covers which make you want to keep hold of it.

To view a high res. pdf of the book click this link...
(please be patient with download as file is 83MB)

10 Public Sculptures - Hitchens.pdf

 

Installation Choreography

Tags: Outdoor Sculpture, Private Commission

19th April 2016:
Yesterday saw the installation of a 'small' granite sculpture for a private client in Wimbledon. Normally this would not be of much note, but I think it worth mentioning as the installation was a real challenge, given that I couldn't get any powered lifting machines to help - 'just' a super efficient helper called Duncan.
Rolling the 1700kg. forms round the house, down steps and into the garden location went like clockwork. In fact the size, weight and material of the sculpture were all carefully considered, knowing the route through the garden to the final installation site. These are often unthought of aspects of making and installing a sculpture, particularly when it sits successfully in its final location as if it has been there for years, but they are all part of the back story for the creation.
And of course a dry day is most welcomed.

 
 
 
 

The Space Between a Space: wrapped, unwrapped, wrapped

Tags: Public Commission, Outdoor Sculpture, Public Space
 

24th November 2015:
Yesterday I managed take some images of the sculpture The Space Between, which I installed in May. Sited in Reading, just along the road from the mainline rail station and opposite Forbury Park, it is the welcoming landmark sculpture at the entrance to Forbury Place: a striking new office space delivered by M&G Real Estate. After installing the sculpture on a wet day in May, the surrounding groundwork, cabling and surface finishes to the public realm had to be completed which is why I waited until yesterday to take images of the finished work. For all this time the sculpture has remained wrapped, protected from the possibility of knocks and bumps. Now it is wrapped again, because work is starting on the second building which is due for completion in 2017.

I'm thrilled with the strong visual link between sculpture and building, and am eager to see it again without wrapping, fencing, and with people sitting around it. For the full background story of its making click on the Public Commission tag on this page and scroll through six news posts about the project, or take a look at the public commissions page in this website, or testimonials.

 
 
 
 

Chelsea gets new public art

Tags: Public Commission, Outdoor Sculpture

1 June 2015:
Today the paving was completed around the twin sculpture in Chelsea, and the covers came off - Evidence of the Unseen Mountain is here to stay. The builders did a superb job cutting the paving slabs to jigsaw fit around the base of each sculpture.

Commissioned by Native Land, with the support from Art Projects Management Ltd, it can be seen at the junction of Alpha Place and Chelsea Manor Street, London.

 
 

The Reading Job

Tags: Public Commission, Public Sculpture, Outdoor Sculpture

15th May 2015:
Yesterday was wet! Not really what we needed for the installation of two large twisting granite sculptures weighing 8500 kg. each. The strapping of these sculpture was always going to be exacting, so after we removed them from the open top containers, the six hour window for a road closure meant that we had run out of time to even get one up.

Not a bad thing really, as today the sun shone and the lifting straps didn't slip. There was always only going to be one way to strap these sculptures - along their length. I knew that once they were vertical, the lifting up, over and into the top of the scaffold support frame was going to be relatively straight forward, but the hoisting from horizontal to the vertical was tense to say the least. Fortunately I was working with two experienced boys from the lifting company Ainscough. The crane operator Bob (first image) was superb at keeping the end of the jib absolutely plumb above the choked sling lifting the sculpture. Very, very slowly he raised the horizontal sculpture into the vertical position as if gently playing spillikins, and then I could breath.

I spent a further few hours placing metal rods through the base of each granite sculpture and resin bonding them to the granite. Now all that remains is the pouring of a second concrete foundation layer, bonding all the reinforcement together, and then the build up of the final landscaping surface. I hope to have images of the finish sculpture, unveiled, in a few months.....

First four images courtesy of Anne Purkiss

 
 
 
 

Chelsea News

Tags: Public Commission, Outdoor Sculpture

14th April, 2015:
Tuesday was a good day: the sun was shining and I installed my latest London sculpture on a quiet street in Chelsea. The install itself was pretty straightforward: lifting two sculptures and craning them into position, to sit on a pre placed foundation fixing frame. Once the lorry had set up its position, the two lifts were completed in less than an hour - a record installation time for my sculptures.

Now the builders are to retrofit the paving slabs and fit the up lighters, so in a few weeks we will be able to see the completed work - watch this space.....

 
 

A first for bronze

Tags: Public Commission, Outdoor Sculpture

2nd April, 2015:
Yesterday I was at the foundry, overseeing the final stages in the making of my very first bronze sculpture. In two weeks, this will be sighted in Chelsea, London, as a new public sculpture for Native Land. Four months ago I delivered a mould of the face of a rough hewn granite block, to the foundry, and now the casting and fabrication is finished. I was fascinated to see how complicated the internal frame fabrication was (right hand image), and delighted with the high degree of finishing the form ended up with. But the form is only half the battle with a bronze: the patina really brings the form alive, giving it colour, tone and depth.

Below you can see the patina being gently rubbed into the bronze surface: when the desired patination has bitten into the surface, the patina is washed off with water, to neutralised the acids, thus 'fixing' the patina.

 
 
 
 

Long Distance Creativity

Tags: Public Commission, Studio Practice, Outdoor Sculpture

18th February, 2015:
Last week I was back in the Chinese granite carving capital - Huian, to oversee the 'almost finished' sculptures, for a commission to be sited in Reading this May. Whilst the two highly geometric forms looked pretty amazing, particularly because of their size and mass, the helical twists were not completely spot on. This degree of accuracy, I believe, is needed in order to transform these two carvings into something 'other'. To give them a sense that their form and energy could carry on twisting, and rising (at their final resting place in Reading) up into the air for hundred of meters. Its the difference between an impressive object, and something unexpected that continues to arrest your vision when first sighted.

In order to achieve this I had to show the chief mason what I meant, by looking down the long twisting arris of the edge, continually moving my eye, until I can spot where the inaccuracy lies, over the five and a half meter form: a few millimetres here to mark a slight depression, a few more millimetres there, in order to identify where a subtle lump in the form sits. It may sound like tiny 'tweaking', but it really does result in a form which has an incredibly tight, and believable, movement in all its surfaces and form. The chief mason was fascinated to learn this degree of accuracy, something which the factory managers don't normally aspire to.

 
 
Next Page Viewing page 1 of 3