Warwick Icon To Go On Tour

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A Warwick Arts Centre and University of Warwick icon will today (24th July 2017) be moving home for the next three years and heading out on a tour of the campus.

White Koan by artist Liliane Lijn will move up to Gibbet Hill for the first year of its tour whilst Warwick Arts Centre begins its three year 20:20 Project to refresh, refurbish and redevelop the venue.

Sarah Shalgosky, Curator of the University of Warwick, said: “With the Warwick Arts Centre 20:20 Project starting this autumn, we are moving some key works of art. The White Koan is too important to go into storage so the Koan Tour has been developed with its supporters. White Koan will spend one year up at Gibbet Hill and then move to other sites on the campus in succeeding years before returning home in 2020”.

Standing at 6m tall, the Koan was installed outside Warwick Arts Centre in 1972 after standing on the roof of the Hayward Gallery in London. A first of its kind, constructed in 1971, it utilises highly original combinations of industrial materials and artistic processes. Lijn is recognised for pioneering the interaction between art, science, technology, eastern philosophy and mythology. Its name is a pun on the Buddhist concept of a “koan” – a device for contemplation, a question to which there is no answer.

In addition, however, the Koan has grown in popularity to become an icon of the University; beloved by students, staff and visitors alike and has taken its place at the centre of some of the campus’ urban myths.

Rumours have circulated that the Koan stood over the tunnel which allowed senior staff to escape from their neighbouring headquarters; that it was the nose cone of a failed Apollo mission; that it’s occupied by a very small inhabitant and that it is controlled and owned by a High Priestess. Over the years there has been a university Koan Society and, in the early 90s it was the subject of a strip cartoon by Steve Shipway. Since then there have been Koan memes and videos created; petitions to include the Koan in the University logo; Facebook and Twitter accounts created and it has become the proud mascot for the University of Warwick University Challenge team.

Warwick Arts Centre’s 20:20 Project will see the venue redeveloped over the course of three years. Throughout the refurbishment, Warwick Arts Centre will be open with a full programme of events and shows taking place within the venue and in an onsite temporary theatre – The Goose Nest.

For more information on Warwick Arts Centre 20:20 Project, click here

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