Object Details

Axis Mundi

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Makers
General Information
Classification
Object Parts
Object Condition
History
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Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright for Photograph:

Creative Commons

Location

Street:College Lane
Town:Chichester
Parish:Chichester
Council:Chichester District Council
County:West Sussex
Postcode:PO19
Location on Google Map
Object setting:Outside building
Access is:Public
Location note:Facing the chapel on the University of Chichester Bishop Otter Campus
In the AZ book:West Sussex
Page:140
Grid reference:C5
The A-Z books used are A-Z East Sussex and A-Z West Sussex (Editions 1A 2005). Geographers' A-Z Map Company Ltd. Sevenoaks.

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Makers

Name : John Skelton
     Role:Sculptor
Name : Reuben Walters
     Role:Assistant

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General Information

Commissioned by: University of Chichester
Installation date:1990
Unveiling date:06/10/1990
Work is:Extant
Owner custodian:University of Chichester
Object listing:Not listed
Description:Two large sculptural roughly columnar blocks, one horizontal set on top of one vertical. In the form of a Tau Cross.
Iconographical description:The axis mundi (axis of the world or ''world axis''), in religion or mythology, is the world center and/or the connection between heaven and Earth. The vertical block represents life and the horizontal represents the after-life, at the same time representing the conflict and interaction of male and female forces.
Signatures:South face, bottom left hand corner, carved vertically:
John Skelton 1988

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Classification

Categories:Sculptural, Free Standing, Commemorative, Abstract
Object type1:Sculpture
Subject type1:Symbolic
Subject type2:Allegorical
Subject type3:Non-figurative

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Object Parts

Part 1:Sculpture
     Material:French limestone
     Height (cm):275
     Width (cm):280
     Depth (cm):50

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Object Condition

Overall condition:Good
Risk assessment:No known risk
Date of on-site inspection:24/10/2007

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History

History:John Skelton was an artist in residence at the College from October 1989. The sculpture was made to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Bishop Otter College. It was unveiled in the Autumn of 1990.

'It has not yet been realised and therefore is now the most important thing in my life.A year ago I was asked to be a sculptor in residence at Bishop Otter College in Chichester. I'd never had this position before, in a college with young people. A frightening challenge, but something I felt I must do. Like delivering one of my wife's children - which, because of social conventions, I had never done. I now want to deliver this child with the help of the midwife of this work, which is youth. Because youth will win, youth has to win, and I need youth as a midwife to carry me through the difficult period of maturity into the flowering of my latter years. That is the only way. The sculpture really conceived itself. It started with the 'Winged Victory of Samothrace' in The Louvre in Paris, which is of course the wonderful and frightening, powerful classic sculpture, erected on the shores of the Island of Samothrace to signify Greek victory. It's a woman, but it's also a child and a mother. It's now positioned at the top of the central staircase in The Louvre. My sculpture starts with a sperm; at the base there will be pebbles from the beach south of Chichester, chosen by the students; a little spiral of pebbles starting from nought. The base idea came from those wonderful ceremonial gardens made by the Japanese as a devotional duty. The stones represent the ideas which grow from the earth, enter the roots of the form and grow contigiously through the column of our life. The arms outspread and, if you like, the cruciform of wings enfolds as all our ideas come to fruition. Leaves sprout and give forth. Axis Mundi is really the navel of the world. It's a cruciform of the male dominant form, held in check by the female enfolding form. Man is a vertical thinker, all matter and things; woman is lateral, and spirit, and cares for people. We need these two beings to keep the world in check, in harmony. Maybe sometimes in frustration and in anger. Both real, both good, and that is what my sculpture is about.'
(John Skelton in 'John Skelton: Axis Mundi')

Unveiled on Graduation Day, Saturday 6 October 1990. John Skelton’s daughter, Rebecca, graduated from the College that day and the statue was dedicated by Archdeacon William Filby. A tau-cross form. Skelton had spent the year in residence at the College.
(Warne, Heather & Brighton, Trevor. (1992). ‘A Portrait of Bishop Otter College: Chichester 1839-1990’. West Sussex Institute of Higher Education.)

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References

Source 1 :
     Title:'John Skelton: Axis Mundi'
     Type:Book
     Author:James, N.P.
     Page:20-23
     Publisher:Cv Publications. London.

Source 2 :
     Title:Cv/Visual Arts Research
     Type:Journal
     Author:James, N.P.
     Page:20-23
     Volume:55
     Publisher:Cv Publications. London.

Source 3 :
     Title:The Independent
     Type:Newspaper
     Author:Powers, Alan.


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Photographs





Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons

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