Sir Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences

Symbolic Sculptures

Symbolic Sculptures by John Robinson

(Click on each image for the full-size version and more information)




In October 1994, the sculptor John Robinson was invited to the Newton Institute to give a talk, entitled Symbolic Sculpture, about his work. In 1995 his patrons, Robert Hefner III and Damon de Laszlo, generously offered to donate an edition of his sculpture Intuition to the Institute, which the Institute was delighted to accept. Sir Michael Atiyah, Director of the Institute said ‘the sculpture will enhance the external appearance of the Institute and stimulate the imaginations of those who enter its doors.’ The sculpture was unveiled by Sir Michael on Wednesday 14th February 1996.

Through the continued generosity of John Robinson's patrons, two more sculptures, Genesis and Creation, have now been donated to the Institute and an inauguration ceremony to celebrate was held in October 1996.

The three sculptures belong to Robinson's Universe Series, which he began in 1975, naming it after his sculpture The Universe which represents ‘the Known, the Unknown and man. This series of sculptures traces a path from the beginning of time to the present day, symbolically portraying his interpretation of the cosmos, earth, animals, man and woman, birth, death, religion, civilisation and the future. Other titles in the series include Solar Motion, Time, Space, Galaxies, and Eternity . Many of the sculptures are based on simple geometric forms: spirals, ovoids, cones, circles, spheres and knots, and some can even be described by exact mathematical formulae. The three sculptures at the Newton Institute are all based on the Borromean Rings, so that each has three interlocked shapes, no two of which are linked.

A presentation on the interrelation of Robinson's work and mathematics is given at the University of Wales, Bangor, Symbolic Sculptures and Mathematics. There you will find presented Chain of Life at the Science Centre, Harvard University; Janus, a work depicting matter, antimatter and the Big Bang (at the Aspen Center for Physics, Colorado); a tour of the four sculptures at Bangor, and many others.

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