D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum Art Collection

Peter Randall-Page

In the Beginning by Peter Randall-Page

In the Beginning, Kilkenny Limestone, 2009.  DUNUC ARTS:4425
Presented by the Art Fund and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, with additional funding from the National Fund for Acquisitions


Peter Randall-Page is one of the UK’s foremost sculptors, with large works sited in galleries and public spaces around the UKand in many other countries including the USA, Australia, Japan, Germanyand the Netherlands.  His practice has always been informed and inspired by the study of natural phenomena, and particularly with the underlying principles determining growth and the forms it produces, greatly inspired by his discovery of D’Arcy Thompson’s On Growth and Form while a student at Bath Academy of Art.  In his words “geometry is the theme on which nature plays her infinite variations, fundamental mathematical principles become a kind of pattern book from which nature constructs the most complex and sophisticated structures.”

In the Beginning is part of the artist’s on-going exploration of geometric form.  The tetrahedron is the most important and fundamental of the five regular polygons known as the platonic solids.  The sculpture evolved from stacking spheres together, in the same way that cells do when multiplying.  Covering these is a skin which seems to be constantly stretching as the cells expand.  As the artist says, “The surface is like a membrane; an invitation to suspend disbelief and be drawn into the dark heart of the dumb rock.”  The stone has an extraordinary quality to it – although it looks rough it is actually as smooth as marble, and contains numerous fossils, tying into the zoology theme.  Although symmetrical, the work seems to take on new shapes as one moves around it, again lending it an organic feel and linking with D’Arcy’s ideas.

The sculpture is now located in the modern link entrance that unites the Carnelley Building (housing the Zoology Museum) and the Old Medical School beside it. 


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