Striking new sculpture installed at University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield

Diane Maclean's Diabolo coloured stainless steel sculpture at the University of Hertfordshire.

Diane Maclean's Diabolo coloured stainless steel sculpture at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield. - Credit: UH Arts, University of Hertfordshire

A striking new sculpture by an internationally renowned artist has been installed at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield.

The University of Hertfordshire Art Collection has acquired its 14th outdoor sculpture – a light-reflecting, pyramidal form called Diabolo.

The sculpture is the second in the Hatfield uni's collection by sculptor and UH alumna Diane Maclean.

It has been installed in time for International Sculpture Day on April 24 and can be seen on the university’s de Havilland campus, outside the LRC building. You can watch an installation timelapse video below.

Diane Maclean said: “I am delighted to have donated my sculpture Diabolo to the University of Hertfordshire – representing my enduring relationship with the university. 

"It is a playful work; the colour being created purely by natural light and its geometry reacting with the surrounding landscape and trees.”

Made in 2018 from coloured stainless steel, Diabolo is based on the form of the ancient Chinese spinning toy.

Diabolo by Diane Maclean at  the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield.

Diabolo, 2018 by Diane Maclean at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield. - Credit: UH Arts, University of Hertfordshire

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The sculpture follows a series of pyramidal forms artist Diane Maclean has developed over the years for sculptures in the landscape.

The colour of the material is created by daylight entering a clear oxide on the surface of the curved and polished stainless steel at varying angles.

The colour changes through red, purple, blue and gold with the light of day and as perceived from different angles.

This kind of scientific element is typical of Maclean’s practice.

An alumna of the University of Hertfordshire, Diane Maclean is an established sculptor who has exhibited widely across the UK and Europe.

Diabolo, fabricated by Birch Engineering Ltd, has been exhibited at Doddington Hall in 2018, and in 2019 at Beaulieu Abbey in Hampshire and Marks Hall, Essex, after which it was donated to the UH Art Collection in 2020.

It is the artist's second sculpture at the university, following Mountains, which can be seen on the College Lane campus.

Diane Maclean's Mountain, 2005, at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield.

Diane Maclean's Mountain, 2005, at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield. - Credit: UH Arts

The university's art collection features over 500 artworks displayed across its campuses. 

Open to campus audiences and the public, when COVID-19 restrictions allow, a dedicated Sculpture Walk introduces the 14 outdoor sculptures in the collection.

The walk presents an eclectic group of works which map the changing characteristics of British sculpture since the 1950s.

A narrated digital sculpture tour is available at alongside digital galleries showcasing the extensive University Art Collection.

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