ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A new sculpture will be unveiled in downtown Abilene next week.
The sculpture – titled “The Singing Ringing Tree” by architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu – is designed to interact with the West Texas wind, and can be heard from 100-400 feet away from its new location near Frontier Texas! on S 1st Street and Treadaway Boulevard, depending on the wind speed.
JK Welding was contracted by the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council to move the sculpture from its current location on private property in Travis County to Abilene, where it will be reassembled July 26.
“The sculpture will be positioned to just the right angle to maximize the wind blowing across the pipes to generate this music,” a press release explains. “The humming sound produced has been described as “melodious” and “choral,” covering a range of several octaves.”
This press release gives the following history about “The Singing Ringing Tree”:
The sculpture was originally designed by architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu as part of a project for the East Lancashire Environmental Arts Network in England to create landmarks over the countryside. The sculpture was completed in 2006 and placed on a hill range overlooking the town of Burnley, whose population is about half the size of Abilene’s, and like Abilene, is considered windy. “The Singing Ringing Tree” there has become a tourist attraction and was named one of the Top 10 places for “sound art” in the world. In 2007, the sculpture won the Royal Institute of British Architects’ National Award for architectural excellence.
A second “Singing Ringing Tree” sculpture was created and located in Saudi Arabia.
A third version was commissioned by a Texas art collector and completed in 2017. JK Welding was contracted to create the sculpture, which King says is 22 feet tall and has 22 levels of pipes that are 11-12 inches tall each utilizing 6-inch pipe of various thicknesses. The pipe swirls around to form the shape of a wind-blown bent tree although some say it resembles a tornado.
The sculpture is said to be inspired by a 1957 East German children’s film later shown on BBC television that was inspired by a German fairy tale about a spoiled princess who demands the Singing Ringing Tree from a would-be suitor. The tree’s leaves ring with music for those with love in their hearts.
JW Welding will begin dismantling the sculpture July 25 and viewers can watch the process live here.
A Texas art collector donated “The Singing Ringing Tree” and the following five sculptures, each worth nearly half a million dollars, to the City of Abilene:
1) “Davidians” – Mosaic tile Porky Pig pop art by Dianne Sonnenberg applied to granite carved by Stuart Simpson.
2) “Rainbow Bear” – Abstract Texas limestone figure by artist Stuart Simpson.
3) “Critter” – Abstract Texas limestone animal by artist Stuart Simpson.
4) “Dancing Pony (Red)” – Abstract cast aluminum horse sculpture by artist Kevin Box.
5) “Kinetic Spinner” – A 10-foot tall steel and glass moving sculpture by artist Jim LaPaso
All six sculptures, including “The Singing Ringing Tree” will be arriving in Abilene within the next few weeks.