UCD Sculpture Trail – Wind & Water (2013)

Image Credit: "Wind and water," held by UCD Estate Services. © University College Dublin.

Rachel Healy looks at the sculpture Wind & Water, from the UCD Sculpture Trail.

The sculpture, Wind and Water (2013), by Paddy Campbell, is located at the centre point between the UCD Engineering and Material Science Centre and the UCD Gerard Manley Hopkins International Centre and is one of the artworks featured in UCD’s Sculpture Trail. The UCD Sculpture Trail was originally developed in 2008, by Ms. Ruth Ferguson, previous 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.

Sculpting is a deeply spiritual process and for me it is a constant and ongoing journey.

Paddy Campbell was born in Dublin in 1942 and had a successful career in contract catering. In 1967, Campbell set up Campbell Catering and would ultimately rescue Bewley’s of Grafton Street in 1986, as well as employing 5,000 people worldwide. The businessman briefly took night courses at the National College of Art and Design in the 1960s, although it was in 1996 that Campbell decided to return to his love for art by studying Renaissance painting and drawing in Florence. At the age of 58, Campbell turned to sculpture with the aim of improving his technique in painting, however, the artist was surprised at how naturally sculpture came to him. “I didn’t think I’d like it, or that I’d be any good at it,” Campbell says. “I thought I’d do it to improve my painting. But as soon as I started it, I found I had a gift for it. I was completely flabbergasted how it came to me. I could paint alright, but it was a conscious effort. But with sculpture it seemed no problem.”

Campbell found working with sculpture to be more fulfilling and absorbing, and ultimately hired more staff to run his catering business for him, while he worked from a studio in Florence.

Wind & Water is an example of how the artist’s works are concerned with the energetic, often nude, human figure. Campbell explains that, “Each of my sculptures tell a story – by capturing a moment within that story and relating the depth and breadth of all that happens in that instant. What interests me when I compose a sculpture is the blending of experiences, of the subject, of the artist and of the observer, and the limitless possibilities for interpretation”.

The bronze sculpture is 4.5 metres tall and depicts a male and female figures dancing and positioned back-to-back., with emotional and romantic intentions. The sculpture was initially exhibited in Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence, a palace designed for Cosmo De Medici in 1484. This particular sculpture is a tribute to the elements wind and water, as is suitably situated beside the Engineering building and the lake.

The work was donated to UCD by Setanta Art Ltd. and was installed in its current location in October 2013. “This sculpture took immense energy to create and I’m thrilled that it will be exhibited so prominently and in such a prestigious location as University College Dublin,” said Paddy Campbell. “Sculpting is a deeply spiritual process and for me it is a constant and ongoing journey”.