Major commission for Seung Yul Oh — 02.05.11

Seung Yul Oh has been commissioned to undertake a $250,000 sculpture to be constructed outside the new Claudelands Events Centre, Hamilton.

Plans to transform Hamilton into a public arts destination to rival "Wellington or Melbourne" have kicked off with the commissioning of a $250,000 sculpture to be constructed outside the new Claudelands Events Centre.

It is the first sculpture which will be built through the Mesh Sculpture Hamilton Trust, which is planning to build at least two sculptures a year in the city.

The sculptures will be designed by "significant" New Zealand contemporary artists, according to trust chairwoman Nancy Taiger.

The Claudelands sculpture, by New Zealand contemporary artist Seung Yul Oh, will be in place in front of the events centre, off its Heaphy Tce entrance, later this year. The scale of the metal sculpture is not yet known.

Two more sites have been identified as future locations for sculptures: at the entrance to the road around Hamilton Lake off Pembroke St, and at Yendell Park off Cobham Dr. Artists for the second and third sculpture sites have yet to be decided.

Ms Taiger said the Mesh trust's aim, with the construction of the sculptures, is to make Hamilton a true "arts destination". "We intend this to be an on-going thing," she said. "We want Hamilton to be a city of art and artists like Wellington or Melbourne."

The trust will work in partnership with the Hamilton City Council, where the council will give the land to the trust to construct the sculptures, which will be gifted to the city upon completion. Council will then be responsible for their general upkeep.

The Mesh trust will not directly receive funding from the council for sculptures. Ms Taiger said she does not want the trust's model to be "dependent" on the council.

"If we had a model dependent on the council for sculpture funding contribution, it would mean if that failed, the whole idea would fail," she said.

Most of the trust's current budget of $250,000 comes from the Brian Perry Family Trust and smaller private contributions. It is likely the majority of it will be spent on Yul Oh's sculpture.

Considered one of New Zealand's leading contemporary artists, Yul Oh has exhibited works at Te Papa, Auckland University, Newmarket Sculpture Trust and the Melbourne Art Fair.

Last year he received the prestigious $80,000 Harriet Friedlander New York Residency.

Source:  Waikato Times