University of Nottingham Lakeside Arts announces new public art commission

The University of Nottingham’s Lakeside Arts complex today announced an exciting new commission for public art in its grounds by internationally-renowned artist Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva, and called for students and members of the public to join in its creation.

Using an ancient Japanese technique called shou sugi ban, two tree trunks will be darkened, traced with metallic patterns and motifs that reflect the city and University’s heritage, and installed in the grounds by the Lakeside Theatre.

The work will use fully environmentally-friendly techniques and the tree trunks will be sourced from those currently being removed from the University estate – due to poor health or having reached the end of their natural lifespan – as part of its arboretum project.

Students and members of the public will be invited to help design the work by suggesting the patterns and motifs to be used, perhaps incorporating words or mathematical and scientific symbols used by today’s students that will reflect upon its unique setting. They will also have the opportunity to join Elpida in making the pieces in an open marquee in Lakeside’s grounds, as she has done with other of her works.

Director of Nottingham Lakeside Arts, Shona Powell OBE said: “We are delighted to be working with Elpida to produce a stunning addition to our public arts offer. It is particularly exciting that University staff, students and members of the public can both observe and be part of the creative process, as well as enjoy the end result.”

Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva said: “Nottingham has a proud cultural, educational and political tradition that will be truly fascinating to reflect in this artwork. I am pleased to invite University staff, students and the people of Nottingham to join me in creating something that uniquely reflects this beautiful city.”

“The work will encourage visitors to view the past in a new way and will highlight the sensitive balance at play between present, past and future and deepen appreciation of the rich historical and cultural heritage of Lakeside Arts, the University of Nottingham and Nottingham itself.”

Work will commence in September 2018 with the aim of installing the final works in November. Anybody interested in participating in the design or execution of the artwork is invited to contact Lakeside Arts’ Head of Visual Arts Programming at neil.walker@nottingham.ac.uk.

Elpida’s work with trees will be familiar to visitors to National Trust properties including Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire where her Resuscitare (2013) installation was retained for three years longer than planned by the Trust so that visitors could continue to enjoy it.

Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva is a Macedonian-born contemporary visual artist who works across sculpture, video and sound, photography and architectural interventions to reflect the particular history, environment or communities of a location, often using materials that have a link to it.

Elpida graduated in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art in 1998 and Glasgow School of Art in 1996. She has shown work at the internationally renowned Venice Biennale representing Macedonia (2013) and contributing to the Pavilion of the Holy See for the Vatican (2015).

She has exhibited extensively and realised numerous commissions nationally and internationally, in gallery spaces, museums and within the public realm. Her recent UK sites and commissions include Pied à TerreGloucester Cathedral, and Towner Gallery, as well as the Swiss Embassy and the World Bank in Macedonia. In 2016 she had a major solo exhibition at the Djanogly Gallery at Lakeside Arts, called ‘Making Beauty’ which featured the work commissioned by the Holy See.

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