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Fallen “meteorite” is new jubilee sculpture in Lundagård

The designer, Charlotte Gyllenhammar, is standing next to the sculpture she created, holding the Ekeby Meteorite
The designer, Charlotte Gyllenhammar, next to the sculpture she created. Charlotte is holding the Ekeby Meteorite, which inspired the work. Photo: D. Kovacevic

The University’s new jubilee sculpture, created by Charlotte Gyllenhammar, was unveiled on Saturday 21 October, as part of LU’s 350th anniversary celebrations.

The sculpture, Meteorite, is made of black-patinated bronze and is located to the right of Palaestra, as seen from the Lund University main building. Around 100 people gathered to see the unveiling. Among them were vice-chancellor, Torbjörn von Schantz, Jesper Svenbro, member of the Swedish Academy, and Pia Althin, whose donation made the jubilee statue a reality.

Famous artist, and former professor at the Malmö Art Academy in Malmö, Charlotte Gyllenhammar has left an impression at several places in Skåne. The installation Vertigo can be seen at Wanås Sculpture Park and the two monumental head sculptures, Mother & Child, are now sited in the Malmö district of Hyllie. The jubilee sculpture Meteorite is her second commission from a university. Her permanent installation, Sunk Down, has been outside Stockholm University since 2001.

Charlotte Gyllenhammar explains that her starting point was the place where the sculpture would be sited and she quickly realised that she wanted to create something with a vertical and freestanding form.

“I felt that it should be something stringent”

Thoughts roamed from different materials and structures to molecules and crystals, and finally settled on a meteorite. While investigating meteorites more closely, she found references to the Ekeby Meteorite and discovered an unexpected connection with Lund University.

“I thought Ekeby must be somewhere up north in Värmland, but it turned out to be in Skåne”, says Charlotte Gyllenhammar.

The meteorite, weighing 3.3 kilos, was donated to the Department of Geology in Lund, after some local people found it in 1939 and suspected it was not an ordinary stone. It has been owned by the University ever since and was shown at Saturday’s ceremony by geologist Carl Alwmark.

The artist imagines that on its way in the universe, the meteorite careers through the constellation of Leo (a clear link to the University’s seal) and lands in Lundagård. The lion is represented as a golden cast in the black bronze sculpture. The real meteorite partially consists of the mineral chrysolite (or olivine), which means goldstone in Greek.

“I chose bronze as it’s durable and exact. It’s possible to create different surfaces and imitate other materials”, says Charlotte Gyllenhammar about the material selection.

The sculpture, in the middle of Lundagård, will draw the attention of passers-by for many years to come. What do you want them to think when they see it?

“I like the immediacy. The first sight, the instant impression, is important in all art. When you see and feel it, it opens up more layers of meaning. For me, a work of art is to have meaning on several planes and I hope that its contrasts will contribute to that”

More about the sculpture:

The sculpture was created by Charlotte Gyllenhammar and was a gift to Lund University from Pia Althin in connection with the University’s 350th anniversary. The sculpture was inspired by the meteorite that fell in Ekeby, Skåne in 1939 and which is now housed at Lund University’s Department of Geology. The Ekeby Meteorite weighs just over 3,300 grams and is of the chondrite type (H4).

The artist imagines that the meteorite travelling through space is thrown against the constellation of Leo before it continues on its crash course to fall in Lundagård – the heart of Lund University – which, since it was founded in ­1668, has had a lion on its seal. The impression of the lion in the mass of the meteorite creates an impact structure, a negative or a cast in the meteorite.

The sculpture is made entirely of bronze, black-patinated on the meteorite itself and polished to a high shiny finish for the impression of the lion’s body. The gold colour carries associations with the meteorite’s glowing core.