Created By: Stephen Amiss
Abstract sculpture made from a welded steel frame clad with brazed copper sheet mounted on a simple pedestal. The sculpture presents a cage-like set of variation on the theme of squares. There is one complete square on the main, south-facing side, but the rest of the sculpture is made up of an ingenious set of variations, of partial squares, which produce a fascinating interlocking pattern. The copper cladding would originally have been orange turning to bright green marking the work out from its concrete surroundings. While Lasdun's buildings for the main site were under construction the University was housed on a nearby site, the University Village, with well designed and spacious temporary buildings, the responsibility of a local firm of architects Feilden & Mawson. The buildings were in place by 1962-3 and continued in use while staff ere moved to the main site later in the 1960s and early 1970s. By the late 1970s the village was no longer in use, and was demolished by 1990. The date of the removal of Clyne's sculpture to the main campus is not recorded, but its discrete siting behind the Library and the ziggurats reflects Lasdun's refusal to allow any public sculpture on campus.
At the time of the commission, Clyne, a scottish sculptor, was a lecturer in sculpture the Norwich School of Art. David Mawson presented the sculpture to the university while the sculptor presented the Vice Chancellor, Frank Thistlethwaite, with the welded maquette now in the Thistlethwaite Archive in the UEA Library, inscribed on the base with the title 'Variations on a Square' 1964 and a dedication to the Vice Chancellor. Clyne was fond of incorporating letter shapes into his works and words can sometimes be discovered revealing hidden meanings. In this case the text is unclear but H and E seem to be prominent. An architectonic inspiration however is just as likely most probably from the published aerial photographs of Lasdun's 1963 models for the campus, notably 'Draft I'
This point of interest is part of the tour: UEA Sculpture Trail