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Arnolfini - est 1961

This event has been replaced with UWE Fine Art / Art in the City Talks: Charlie Tweed

Tobias Rehberger creates objects, sculptures, furniture and environments as diverse as they are prolific. His work crosses, and plays with, traditional divisions between art, design and interiors, and often asks “what is a work of art? And how much of it is conditioned by notions, perceptions and external influences?”

This is especially true of the piece he has created for Southmead Hospital Bristol which was installed in May 2014. Rehberger’s Binary Clock Sculpture is a neon light sculpture based around the principle of the binary clock. The sculpture is made up of three parts, one in each of the three atria of the new hospital. Each of the three sculptures has a different composition with each one functioning independently as a clock.

Each sculpture consists of a combination of 12 neon circles representing the hours, 5 horizontal neon lines representing 10 minute fractions and 9 vertical neon lines representing single minutes. In total, the sculpture includes 78 suspended neon elements. Each of these has been crafted from mouth-blown glass in Germany using traditional German production methods of glass blowing and metal working.

“What excites me about the commission for Southmead is the challenge of creating an artwork for both a unique space (the three large atria forming the concourse) and context, the context of a hospital. This is the first time I have created work for a hospital environment and I hope that it will be able to contribute something that is beautiful, challenging and inspiring.

The subject of time I think is very relevant for a hospital in many different ways. For some it can’t go by quick enough, others need more of it… That’s why I decided to make these three light sculptures, so that for those who know the principle of the binary clock, they can easily be read as clocks. To those who do not know the principle, the suspended lights will remain an abstract light sculpture without functionality. However the varying yet repetitive changes that occur within the sculpture will cause the viewer to scrutinize the reason for these changes and the principle can easily be decoded just by observing it over a period of time.”
Tobias Rehberger


Rehberger’s sculpture for Southmead Hospital Bristol is one of a series of artworks commissioned by Carillion and Willis Newson for Fresh Arts, the arts programme of North Bristol NHS Trust, to mark the opening of the Brunel Building. In commissioning work for the hospital concourse, Willis Newson worked with Field Art Projects

Organised by Arnolfini, Bristol City Council, and the University of the West of England.

Supported by Bristol City Council.

Free for UWE staff and students with ID. Tickets can be collected in person from Arnolfini Box Office from 11am on the day of the event.

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