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Page last updated at 09:48 GMT, Monday, 28 June 2010 10:48 UK
Harlow sculpture trail unveils two new commissions
'Sophrosyne I' by Ekkehard Altenburger
Altenburger's work continues the long tradition of public sculpture in the town

Two new sculptures have been unveiled as part of the Harlow Sculpture Trail.

Works by Ekkehard Altenburger and Nick Turvey were commissioned by The Harlow Art Trust in memory of Lady Patricia Gibberd, wife of the town's architect.

The two pieces, 'Methuselah' and 'Sophrosyne I', stand within the town's Newhall housing development.

They join over 30 other sculptures located in public spaces around the town by renowned sculptors such as Sir Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

This is the latest step in the The Harlow Trust's efforts to get the town recognised as the world's first 'Sculpture Town'.

"We felt we needed something that marked Patricia Gibberd's engagement with sculpture in Harlow," said chairman Will Rea.

'Methuselah' by Nick Turvey
Nick Turvey's creation is inspired by the form of an ancient tree

"We couldn't really decide between the two pieces, but fortunately William Moen [of developers Newhall Project] said if the Trust does one, we'll do the other, so we've ended up with two pieces, which is absolutely fabulous."

Abstract sculptor Altenburger said he was proud to have one of his works appearing alongside such renowned names.

"The reason why I ended up as a half-German, half-Swiss working in the UK for 15 years was because of the tradition and knowledge in sculpture that Britain has," he said.

"So being a part of such a collection is a big privilege for me because I feel as if I've become part of that tradition with my work."

Of his four-tonne Norwegian granite-like rock sculpture, he explained there was "no meaning beyond the sculpture itself."

"I'm happy for people to not quite know about it and they can see different things at different stages and different lights.

"And also perhaps a certain sense of unease that they're not quite 100% comfortable with it, because it will keep them questioning it."

Nick Turvey's Methuselah is inspired by the husk of an ancient tree, comprising a number of curved steel 'fins'.

"I was really concerned to make a place as much as an object, so rather than it being something to look at, I want it to be something that becomes a part of the life of the community," he said.

'Sophrosyne I' by Ekkehard Altenburger
The statues sit within the main square of the Newhall development

He was full of praise for the concept of having a walkable trail around the town, taking in its many public sculptures.

"It's a fabulous honour to be part of this collection that includes work by Henry Moore, Lynne Chadwick and other greats from the 20th century," he said.

"It's very exciting that the Harlow Art Trust have got this new lease of life and are commissioning new work from emerging and mid-career sculptors."

He added: "I love going to a place where art is an important part of it.

"It's an extraordinary way to visit a place, so I do hope people are drawn off the motorway by signs to a 'sculpture town'.

"To be part of this huge open air gallery spread over a whole town is absolutely the best way for an artist to encounter their public."


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