ROQ artist's fellowship – site-wide artist, Simon Periton | University of Oxford
Simon Periton photo of artist
Photo of artist Simon Periton
credit: Simon Periton

ROQ artist's fellowship – site-wide artist, Simon Periton

Simon Periton was awarded the first ROQ Artist’s Fellowship in 2012 following a competitive process. His ‘site-wide’ brief was to develop a cohesive, creative approach to the whole site which engages with its function. In order to develop his design approach, Simon undertook a phase of research, during which he consulted with design teams and liaised with the Humanities Division and associated academic departments within the ROQ.

Golden Alchemical Tree ProposalGolden Alchemical Tree Proposal, 2012. Adapted from Splendor Solis by Salomon Trismosin, 1582 (vellum), German School, (16th century) British Library, London.
credit: Simon Periton

The starting point for his concept has been the symbol of the alchemical tree – the Tree of Life. Alchemy is not just the idea of transmuting base metals into gold; it is primarily concerned with a quest for knowledge, the attainment of a higher state and a realisation of perfection. It represents a school of thought that connects many differing disciplines, such as philosophy, chemistry, religion, art and mathematics.

'My proposal for the ROQ is for one large central sculpture in conjunction with some smaller satellite works that are carefully placed throughout the
 site, and which relate back to the main piece visually and materially.’

‘The tree symbolises the process of growth and transformation experienced by students as 
they develop their ideas through focused study
 at the university; the crown represents the successful attainment of a higher state, a realisation of perfection’. (Simon Periton, extracts from the artist’s proposal, 2012)

Art in the community

Simon’s work is the springboard for the 42 workshops in schools that have taken place as part of the Widening Participation initiative. Click the link to see the tremendous creativity of the students as they respond to the themes of duality, the natural world, alchemy and the relationship between nature and science.