Growth Forms by Margel Hinder is one of the largest sculptures in the UTS Art Collection. It also has one of the most unusual histories, having been displayed in four different sites in its lifetime.

The four metre high braised copper and steel sculpture was originally created by Margel Hinder for the Western Assurance Building in Sydney’s Pitt Street in 1959. In 1980, the building was sold and the developer started to cut it up for scrap. With intervention from both the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the New South Wales State Architect it was saved and placed in the colonnade of the State Office Block in Macquarie Street.

Unfortunately, in 1997, that building was also demolished. Growth Forms moved again, this time to UTS after negotiations with the developers of the State Office Block site, Lend Lease. For the next 10 years, the cactus-like Growth Forms was a feature at the front of the Tower building’s main foyer before being moved to the foyer of Building 4. A conservation project is currently underway to repair and relocate the sculpture to its original location.

Hinder, originally from Brooklyn, New York, was described in a recently published monograph on her sculptures as “one of Australia’s most creative modernist sculptors”, and with her husband Frank, she played an important role in introducing 20th century modernism to her adopted country.

In addition to the sculpture itself, the UTS Art Collection is also fortunate to have one of the maquettes (small scale models) for Growth Forms created by Hinder during the design process.

Janet Ollevou
UTS Art Collection