Rachel Healy speaks to the artist of Rendezvous, one of the most notable sculptures in UCD.
Rendezvous (2007) is one of the works of art featured in UCD’s Sculpture Trail. The UCD Sculpture Trail was created in 2008 by Ms. Ruth Ferguson, Curator of UCD Newman House, and Professor Emeritus Paula Murphy of the School of Art History and Cultural Policy, to catalogue the array of monuments on campus. The piece was created by Bob Quinn (b.1948) in 2007 as an edition of 6 (+ the artist's copy). That edition was sold, and the other versions are displayed in Germany, the US, the UK and Ireland. UCD purchased Rendezvous in 2008, after it was part of an exhibition in the Ivy Gardens run by the Solomon Gallery.
The bronze and limestone sculpture depicts a woman seated at a bench. The sculpture itself faces the UCD square lake, however, the lady faces away from the lake, looking over her shoulder. The artist recalls finding a site for the work on campus, “I remember walking the grounds of UCD with Eamonn Ceant looking for a suitable location. We found the concrete base in front of the lake (it was clearly initially the site for a previous seat). It was an obvious place to put her.”
..the idea is that you know nothing of her, she waits, but you don’t know for what. You don’t know whether she waits in sadness or joyous expectation.
The artwork has attracted attention, as a spot for photographs. Quinn said, “Perhaps allowing Rendezvous to interact with the public devalues it as a piece of sculpture, but I planned for that interaction to take place and be happy for it… It’s interesting seeing who will be next to be photographed sitting with her...Poet Laureates, rugby players, financiers and, hey, the front page of the Irish Times with Hillary Mantel. There's some DNA on that bench!”
Quinn previously worked as a graphic designer within the Irish advertising business, before turning to figurative sculpture in 2002. His sculptures depict slender figures in bronze caught in a moment. He is interested in light and shadow, colour and surface texture. The meaning of the works is not always immediately obvious.
When asked about the meaning behind Rendezvous, Quinn said that the idea is “that you know nothing of her, she waits, but you don’t know for what. You don’t know whether she waits in sadness or joyous expectation. It’s a theme I have used several times before. ‘The Letter’, for example, is of a woman thoughtfully holding a letter. You know nothing of its content, you decide whether she is glad or sad.”
While Quinn initially received complaints about putting a naked woman on a bench in UCD, the artist’s response was, “She's not naked, just simply dressed.”