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New sculpture to be unveiled at Cambridge North Station

A new sculpture by artist Matthew Darbyshire is to be unveiled this month in Cambridge Square, outside Cambridge North station. Part of a series of arts projects commissioned and supported by The Chesterton Partnership developing Cambridge North, the sculpture depicts Greco-Roman deities Hercules and Galatea and challenges traditional perceptions by portraying Galatea as the strong, dynamic and empowered figure challenging Hercules who is sculpted to appear rigid and dated.

The sculpture explores analogue and digital making methods to create two contrasting figures. Galatea, produced digitally, conveys power and poise and reflects the precision with which she was crafted, whereas Hercules is a shakier, hand-made form. The sculptor has positioned the figures to create a charged and compelling relationship between the two methods of making.

Matthew has previously sculpted the Farnese Hercules for the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge as part of its exhibition ‘Following Hercules’ and this work continues to explore how the classics are so pertinent in contemporary culture.

Sculpted in polystyrene before being cast in aluminium, the two figures were intentionally constructed very differently. Hercules is designed to be very rough having been shaped by crudely cutting sheets of polystyrene with a bread knife, whereas Galatea was carved with a CNC lathe which gives her a smoother, more polished texture. The unity between the two figures is achieved by using the same material and the same sized plinth, but the juxtaposition between the two creates a tension between the two approaches and technologies.

The work is designed to be accessible and interactive and will encourage visitors and the local community to engage with the sculpture, providing a place for people to sit and enjoy the new landscaping and public areas being built at Cambridge North.

Matthew Darbyshire, artist, said:

“This work is about sculpture in the 21st Century and asks which attributes elicit spirit, potency and charge - is it scale, symbol, surface, material, maker or manufacture? Hercules Meets Galatea uses new motifs, making methods and materials to celebrate the classical whilst also acknowledging the contemporary connotations of its immediate surroundings.”

Sven Topel, CEO of Brookgate, said:

“Hercules meets Galatea is an impressive and thought-provoking sculpture that will be a great addition to the area outside Cambridge North station. We’re committed to continuing to provide high quality public art by working with respected artists like Matthew and look forward to seeing the public enjoying the new sculpture.”