The University of Sydney receives $1.4m sculpture gift

'Individuals' by Andrew Rogers

‘Individuals’ by Andrew Rogers

The University of Sydney has received a significant sculpture gift valued at $1.4 million created by Andrew Rogers – one of Australia’s most recognised contemporary artists today.

Rogers’ generous donation of his sculpture work ‘Individuals’, first exhibited in New York in 2013, is the most significant gift of sculpture by a living artist in Australia.

Located today outside the new Faculty of Law building at the University of Sydney’s Camperdown campus, the sculptural installation has been presented by the Australian artist to the University through the Federal Government’s Cultural Gifts Program.

University of Sydney’s Vice Chancellor, Dr Michael Spence, said: “This is an extraordinary gift to the University. It takes a visionary artist to understand and appreciate the intersection between art and academic endeavour. ‘Individuals’ is doing more than enhancing the beauty of our campus; it acts as a driver of deeper thinking and reflection for our students and staff.”

‘Individuals’ was first exhibited by Rogers at the gateway to the United Nations in New York City, in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.  It was unveiled by Sir James Wolfensohn, the ninth President of the World Bank, Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Hall, and alumnus of the University of Sydney Law School.  At the time, it was one of the largest installations of bronze cast forms to be installed in New York.

Andrew Rogers said: “’Individuals’ is a metaphor for the inseparable relationship between singularity and community. We are all individuals possessing the sanctity of a singular life and the ability to express ourselves. At the same time we are part of the society within which we live.

“With the lack of respect for the sanctity of individual life that we see around the world today, the message of the sculpture is significant and well placed outside the Law Faculty of a leading university.”

Comprising 15 sculptures of varying heights up to 3.5 metres, each bronze cast form is similar yet different, as we are as individuals; each one balanced on a tightly curled base that unfurls as it extends upwards and outward in a continuously undulating spiral movement.

Chris Fox, a sculptor and lecturer in Art and Architecture at the University of Sydney, remarked: “The repeated unfurling bronze forms are dynamic and seductive in materiality, and allow for a connection between ground plane and the Law building behind. Temporary and permanent art projects throughout the university are vital in building a connection to site for the students, staff and visitors.”

Melbourne-based Rogers has an international following with over 300 sculptures found in plazas and buildings around the world. Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, former Mexican President Vincente Fox and the late Nazi hunter and holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal have commissioned his work.

One of Rogers’ monumental projects is his ongoing land art series ‘Rhythms of Life’ that he began in 1998. Billed as the largest contemporary land art undertaking in history, it comprises 51 massive stone structures in 16 countries across seven continents and has involved over 7,500 people.