Luke Jerram unveils new Mars sculpture - and it will be on display at Bristol University

The artwork uses NASA imagery to capture the planet in forensic detail. Credit: University of Bristol

Bristol artist Luke Jerram has revealed a new sculpture recreating the planet Mars.

The sculpture, which is seven metres in diametre, will be on show to the UK public for the first time from Tuesday 27 July to Sunday 1 August.

It is being displayed in the University of Bristol’s iconic Wills Memorial Building.

Mars is the latest piece by Luke Jerram, whose public art includes the Palm Temple, more than 2,000 ‘street pianos’ he placed in cities around the world and a 90-metre slide down Bristol’s Park Street.

His critically acclaimed art often has a strong space theme, including giant sculptures of the Moon and the Earth. Mars is the latest creation in this series.

The artwork uses NASA imagery to capture the planet in forensic detail, with each centimetre of the internally-lit sculpture representing 10km of the surface of Mars.

The display also includes a specially-commissioned Mars surround sound composition by Dan Jones.

Luke, who received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bristol in 2020, said: “This will be the first time I’ll have presented Mars slowly revolving, so I’m excited to see how this movement gives life to the sculpture.

“It’s a great pleasure to bring this new work to Bristol and the Great Hall of the Wills Building is such a great venue. I’m sure all the geologists and astronomers at the university will be excited to see Mars up close.”

Luke Jerram’s awe-inspiring Gaia Earth Artwork was hosted by Cabot Institute for the Environment in the Wills Memorial Building in 2019 and the Museum of the Moon was displayed there in 2017. 

Judith Squires, University of Bristol Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, said: “After a really challenging year we wanted to do something special for our staff and students.

“It is great to mark their achievements with another breath-taking sculpture from Luke Jerram and we hope that this inspirational synergy of art and science will speak to their University experience. 

“Although Mars is only with us for a short time we are keen to ensure that the people of Bristol also have a chance to see it.”