One in four people will develop a mental health problem at some point during their lives. Mental distress can range from mild depression or anxiety to conditions such as bipolar disorder (manic depression) or schizophrenia where individuals may experience psychosis.
The Institute of Mental Health was launched in 2006 to help transform our understanding and treatment of mental illness. We are a partnership between Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and the University of Nottingham and we are one of the leading mental health institutes in the UK, offering leadership and innovation backed by world class expertise.
A new sculpture by Ekkehard Altenburger has been commissioned to mark the opening of the new Institute of Mental Health building on Jubilee Campus. This sculpture will be a reminder for both patients and practitioners to 'think outside the box', and it will hopefully provide a daily inspiration for both patients as well as staff.
The sculpture's spherical elements are opened up by delicate carved details, which will be partly painted.
The work itself stands at about 2.7 m tall; the sculpture is balanced on a grey plinth, which will be produced in either grey granite or cast concrete.
The sculptor's view
"The location of the proposed artwork is positioned on the front elevation next to the entrance to the building. The new Institute of Mental Health building is a confident building with distinct horizontal and vertical lines; the colour scheme is dominated by red and silver grey. I instantly liked the building and I thoroughly enjoyed the process of finding a solution for a sculpture worthy of this site.
"A sculpture in this location should negotiate the physical space between the building and the people using it. I immediately thought that the sculpture should offer a soft appearance to the distinct horizontal and vertical lines of the building, the colour should be soft and accommodate the reds and silvers of the building.
"After much deliberation I also came to the conclusion that there is no point in competing with ASPIRE, the Ken Shuttleworth sculpture in the vicinity of the building. The sculpture should work on a more human scale with clear tactile qualities.
"I suggest to produce this sculpture in marble material, Lasa Marble from Tirol, Northern Italy. The only way to do this is to work in the quarry, using an unevenly quarried block with veins (banana shape), a block, even on the proposed scale, will be affordable. The design process had to move on very swiftly, I thought that the sculpture should be non-descriptive, imaginative as well as (if possible) humorous.
"After some initial sketches, I started to work on a three-dimensional model, which led to the form of a sculpture, which I gave the name 'House for Gordian Knot'. The riddle of designing a sculpture for the new Institute of Mental Health building was in the end elegantly resolved, and the name naturally grew towards the sculpture, as it will also be a reminder for both patients and practitioners to 'think outside the box', and this sculpture will hopefully provide a daily inspiration for both patients as well as staff."
The sculpture's spherical elements are opened up by delicate carved details, which will be partly painted. The work itself stands at about 2.7 m tall; the sculpture is balanced on a grey plinth, which will be produced in either grey granite or cast concrete.
"A very strong reason for choosing marble over steel for the sculpture was the fact that the students of the Thursday Group were very excited about the prospect of using the same material I use in the finite sculpture. I suggest working on a series of sessions, where I introduce the members of the Thursday Group to basic carving techniques, and they all will work on their individual pieces, which should result in a final exhibition.
"The individual blocks will be loaded on the same transport that 'House for Gordian Knot' sculpture will be transported, some off-cuts might even come from the original block. I would think that this would make a wonderful connection with both the sculpture and the place, and it would throw a serious challenge to a highly motivated yet fairly experienced group of individuals. They would work with basic hammer and chisels as well as buchard hammers, which will become part of the Thursday Group's equipment."
A final word about Lasa Marble
Lasa marble was widely used during the Victorian era throughout the UK. Outstanding examples of this material in use are the Queen Victoria statue and fountain outside Buckingham Pallace as well as all existing marble statues alongside the Prince Albert Memorial in Hyde Park. Lasa marble is of exceptional quality and is the only marble that can withstand extreme weather conditions over long periods of time.
Videos of the sculpture being delivered and installed are available on the Institute's Vimeo website.