New lease on life for ACU sculpture

Photo of Ernst Fries' Sculpture being lowered onto a truck.

Ernst Fries 1988 sculpture, Learning to care is lowered on to a truck in order to be removed for cleaning.

A 29-year-old work by renowned sculptor Ernst Fries will soon have a new lease on life at ACU’s Ballarat Campus.

The 1988 sculpture, Learning to care, had previously been situated in an alcove of the Mary Glowrey building at the Melbourne Campus.

Following restoration works, the sculpture will be relocated to the Ballarat Campus and will soon be found at the entrance to the new health sciences building.

When ACU curator Caroline Field first spotted the sculpture at the Melbourne Campus last year, she quickly recognised it as a work by well-known sculptor Ernst Fries.

She invited Mr Fries to the campus to see his work and the artist explained that the sculpture was originally commissioned by the Sisters of Mercy and was first installed in the foyer of a nursing school on Mr Alexander Road in Pascoe Vale, Melbourne.

The three components of the sculpture – concrete, stainless steel and copper - represent the different stages of learning and the upward ribbon of stainless steel culminates with the Mercy Sisters’ cross at the top.

After 29 years the weathered artwork was in need of some attention and the sculpture was transported to a steel fabricator to be cleaned with an acid wash and have its oxidized bolts replaced.

Caroline said she expected the artwork to be relocated to its new home at the Ballarat Campus on 4 April, in time for the launch of the new Health Sciences building.

“It’s particularly rewarding to be able to bring this work back to life and restore it to its former glory,” Caroline said.

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