Evolutionary Loop 517, a monumental six-metre bronze sculpture by the London-based contemporary artist, Nasser Azam, will be unveiled on the 27th May at the University of Aberdeen.
The sculpture was commissioned for the Sir Duncan Rice Library, and is a new defining landmark for the University campus. The Library was officially opened in September 2012 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Azam worked closely with the architect of the library, Morten Schmidt, a founding Partner of the award-winning Scandinavian architectural practice schmidt/hammer/lassen architects, who have designed some of Europe’s most ground breaking library buildings. The sculptural forms of Evolutionary Loop 517 thus establish a strong rapport with the surrounding buildings and landscape.
Azam commented: "The project has been most rewarding as I was involved with the architects from the outset. Evolutionary Loop 517 to me reflects the visually striking interior design of the library and the use of bronze cements a strong connectivity between the historic relevance and traditions of the university, and the bold and beautiful statement of the contemporary library building."
The sculpture was named following a competition launched by Aberdeen University, in collaboration with the artist. The winning entry came from Chemistry Professor Marcel Jaspars, who explained his choice: “I came up with the name as I felt this is a very organic piece, and the intertwined forms connect in a loop, which reminded me of the evolutionary process, with continuous change and connection. It reflects the fact that students, academics and staff are constantly evolving in their experiences and connections at the University of Aberdeen, to show the organic nature of the sculpture in symbiosis with the research carried out at the University and to represent the age of the University when this sculpture was made. In a diverse way, we will all have a connection with the University of Aberdeen just by looking at the sculpture. In future years, maybe people will simply say ’Let's meet at the Loop’.”
Chris Banks, Aberdeen University Librarian and Director of Library Special Collections and Museums, commented: “I am thrilled that the sculpture is now taking pride of place in front of the library. We are extremely grateful to the donor who commissioned the piece and to Nasser who has created this stunning piece of art for us.”
The £57 million Sir Duncan Rice Library provides an advanced learning environment in which the latest learning technology adds value to a magnificent collection of over one million books and journals. It also safeguards the University’s internationally-significant archive of historic books, manuscripts and works of art within the Special Collection Centre and Loop provides another important addition to these collections. The Library is not only a magnificent and inspirational building – it is a hugely important institutional and regional asset which will benefit students, scholars and communities for decades to come.
Alongside the sculpture, Azam has finished a large painting, titled Loop, reflecting on the relationship between sculpture and architecture. Loop has entered the collection of the University, and will be hung in the new library building.
Other major commissions of Nasser Azam’s career to date include the sculpture Athena, commissioned for the entrance to London City Airport, and unveiled on 5th July 2012 to coincide with the 2012 London Olympics. Athena is the UK's tallest bronze sculpture. Azam also created the large bronze sculpture The Dance, unveiled on the South Bank on 21 February 2008, as well as work for the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland, in Dublin.
Between 2008 and 2010 he participated in a number of high-profile 'Performance painting' projects including; Life In Space, a project that took place on board a Russian parabolic aircraft, where he completed two triptychs as an homage to Francis Bacon in zero gravity; and the widely reported Antarctica project, where the artist endured severe weather conditions, to create a series of large oil canvases on an ice desert of the frozen Tundra. Nasser Azam was born in Pakistan in 1963 and spent several years in Japan, before settling in London where he has a studio. He has projects coming up in New York, London and Rio de Janeiro.
The unveiling of the sculpture will take place on 27th of May from 11am until 1pm
The Sir Duncan Rice Library
University of Aberdeen
Bedford Road, Aberdeen
Aberdeen City AB24 3AA United Kingdom
Ph. +44 (0)1224 273330