Art at Westgate is a programme of public art featuring work by some of the most respected artists in Britain and mainland Europe today: David Batchelor, Rachel Barbaresi, Rana Begum, William Cobbing, Adam Dant, Nicky Hirst and Daniela Schönbächler.
The series of new permanent and temporary works of art, curated by Modus Operandi, have been created in response to Westgate’s history, its new identity and its setting within the city, with the aim of creating a new cultural quarter close to Modern Art Oxford. Together they form a constellation of focal points that heighten the experience of Westgate, enlivening and notating the pedestrian journey.
The Art at Westgate brochure can be downloaded here.
THE WESTGATE CULTURAL MERIDIAN
Temporary Hoardings Commission
The Westgate Cultural Meridian, was the first of the series of new commissions to be realised for the Westgate Oxford Public Art Programme. The work, comprising nine animated roundels was installed at St Ebbe’s with smaller compass roundells navigating the perimeter of the Westgate hoardings. The site of the new Westgate shopping centre becomes a notional compass, placing the City of Oxford at the centre of the world. On each of the roundels, Oxford related stories concerning familiar figures animate the illustrated routes of eight suggested ‘Westgate Cultural Meridians’.
Download The Westgate Cultural Meridian brochure here.
LANTERN and OCULUS
Bonn Square entrance to Westgate Oxford
Daniela Schönbächler’s artworks The Lantern and Oculus, located at the Bonn Square entrance to Westgate Oxford, have been conceived in collaboration with Dixon Jones Architects. The Lantern, atop the right-hand skyline of the main entrance is realized in a multi-faceted structure of various coloured glass panes delicately framed in steel, inspired by historical window constructions in some of the early and important glass windows in Oxford University buildings. The Oculus marks the entrance to Westgate as a significant architectural element underscored and complimented by the artist’s intervention of a floating vertical glass curtain. The artworks serve as visual markers for the scheme and herald the route-map of art commissions that form the Westgate Public Art Programme.
Homage to Doctor Mirabilis
David Batchelor’s artwork Homage to Doctor Mirabilis is a site-specific illuminated free-standing sculpture, its form an abstracted version of a multi-ring spherical astrolabe. Doctor Mirabilis was the nickname given to the 13th century philosopher and Franciscan friar Roger Bacon, who lived and studied for some years in the city, and is buried here. For the artist the astrolabe is:
‘a symbol of the best traditions of intellectual inquiry: it is cosmopolitan, diverse, surprising and often very beautiful’.
Nicky Hirst’s Myriad, marking the entrance to the Central Library, encompasses colour, light and reflection. The artwork references hives of activity, signifying new discoveries through a broad colour spectrum. The artwork is created on printed vinyl applied to the Library glazing and extends beyond the entrance to the ground floor and Castle Street windows.
Temporary Reminiscence Project
In Urbansuburban, Rachel Barbaresi explores the relationships within the area of St Ebbes in recent history (within living memory) in the context of the new Westgate Oxford. This activity has principally been through reminiscence work with local groups, working closely with Oxford City Council, and draws together material ranging from objects, sound, photographic and archival images and drawings. Rachel's Westgate in St Ebbes blog shares her findings: http://urbansuburbanoxford.blogspot.co.uk/
The project has been realised as an Artist Book bringing focus to the material gathered by the artist.
Rana Begum’s artwork No.274 Reflectors is conceived for the escalator wall façade in Middle Square and incorporates over 4,000 bicycle reflector tiles. The reflective surface of the work is intended to connect with its surroundings and the moving observer, using colour and optical effects to create a dramatic focal point within Middle Square.
William Cobbing’s commission, Paradise Garden is a serial sculpture, comprising seven quarried stone boulders, each inlaid with ceramic tiles referencing the archaeology, history and the flora of the ancient site of Greyfriars Place and depicting the herbal plants once grown in the area.