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The Henry Moore Institute is closed for refurbishment until Summer 2024.

Decommissioned public artwork finds new future

A young woman wearing a VR headset, sat on an office chair in an archive.
  • Ground breaking public light and sound sculpture, A Light and Sound Transit, a catalyst for the transformation of Leeds South Bank, to be available in a specialist public archive.
  • This innovative project highlights how decommissioned public artworks can live on and still be accessible to the public.
  • The artwork by Hans Peter Kuhn can now be experienced in Leeds Museums and Galleries Archive of Sculptors’ Papers, located at the Henry Moore Institute.

The future of a light and sound installation that transformed a dark, noisy thoroughfare in Leeds city centre into a calmer, immersive public artwork has been secured for generations by Leeds Museums and Galleries and the Henry Moore Institute.

“It is lines of light, very close, like a chain of pearls. So very simple. It changes in the very early morning at four o’clock when there’s very few people on the road, and so every day you see a different pattern.”

Hans Peter Kuhn, BBC Front Row, 23 October 2009

A Light and Sound Transit, by Berlin based sound sculptor, installation artist and composer Hans Peter Kuhn was an important catalyst for the creation of Leeds South Bank, Europe’s largest regeneration scheme.

Decommissioned as a result of Leeds Railway Station’s redevelopment, the innovative work has now been archived as a learning resource. It is now available online at, or can be experienced in person at Leeds Museums and Galleries’ Archive of Sculptors’ Papers, located at the Henry Moore Institute.

This new collection includes the artist’s early sketches, design proposals, technical documentation and a 360-degree video, which you can experience through a virtual reality headset. The 360 film was produced by artist/videographer Andrew Abbott and includes a remix of the immersive soundscape of Light Neville Street by Stuart Bannister in consultation with the artist Hans Peter Kuhn. Commissioned by MAAP in partnership with Leeds City Council and Henry Moore Institute.

“It’s been so interesting working with the University of Leeds and project producers MAAP to accession this significant public artwork into our archive in consultation with Hans Peter Kuhn.

“This project has presented us with a unique opportunity to consider how to capture the story behind the decommissioning of a public work of art in addition to its original commissioning and existence while on display in the public realm. These discussions have uncovered otherwise hidden facets of the history of this work and will no doubt encourage new thinking about public sculpture for current and future researchers.

“While the work may no longer be on the street in Leeds, we are looking forward to making these materials available to everyone.

Errin Hussey, Archivist

Documents from 'Welcome to the North Public Art Programme Locations'. It shows a map of the north of England, with highlighted locations showing the locations of different artworks.
Material from the Light Neville Street archive. Photo: Min Young Lim.

A Light and Sound Transit by Hans Peter Kuhn was one of six iconic public sculptures from the ‘Welcome to the North’ public art programme, launched between 2007 and 2010. Other projects included Antony Gormley’s Another Place on Crosby Beach, and Richard Wilson’s Turning the Place Over in Liverpool.

Launched in 2009, A Light and Sound Transit was located in Neville Street and offered an example of cutting-edge, contemporary public art as non-object based sculpture. It was one of only a handful of public sculptural works in the world that comprise sound, and one of even fewer that engage computing technologies.

The innovative approach to archiving this public art project can be used as an example for the cultural sector. We hope by talking about it to inspire further thinking and planning for the legacies of future public commissions that are either temporary or need to be removed.

A special discussion event with Hans Peter Kuhn will take place on 29 May 2024, hosted by Arup in their new office in Wellington Place.

“’A Light and Sound Transit’ continues to hold international significance in helping reshape what public sculpture can be, from a static physical form to one that embraces technology and the immersive.

‘Light’ Neville Street remains a valued case study in collaborative design excellence. It demonstrates how our public spaces can spark curiosity by engaging all of our senses. I am delighted that the project will live on in Leeds, albeit in a slightly different form, for generations to come to learn about this important commission.”

Sue Ball, project producer and director of MAAP

Concept drawing for Light Neville Street.
Concept sketch from the Light Neville Street archive. Photo: Min Young Lim.

Notes to editors


About A Light and Sound Transit, by Hans Peter Kuhn

Launched in 2009, A Light and Sound Transit, located on Neville Street, used innovative engineering and acoustic techniques, including sound-absorbing wall-panels and a new lighting scheme, to help create a safer gateway to the city from the south. Funded by Leeds City Council, Yorkshire Forward and Northern Way, the refurbished entryway comprised two permanent artworks by international artist Hans Peter Kuhn and Leeds based graphic designer Andrew Edwards. Bauman Lyons Architects provided the overall design vision and co-ordination and the project was co-ordinated by Sue Ball, Director of Media and Arts Partnership (MAAP).

Recognised for its ground breaking use of light and sound at scale, the east wall artwork by Hans Peter Kuhn featured 3,200 individual LED lights which created patterns that changed daily and 96 different sonic compositions, carefully balanced to take into consideration the sound from traffic. Andrew Edwards’ installation for the west wall created the illusion of movement, partly designed to increase drivers’ speed awareness upon entering the city.

Hans Peter Kuhn is a Berlin based sound sculptor/installation artist and composer. He was invited into the project by Sue Ball and MAAP in the R&D and planning phase in 2004.

Kuhn’s work draws from his artistic research into sound and light, which is fully embodied in his international portfolio of large-scale outdoor works, exhibitions and performance. He has worked extensively with the theatrical revolutionary, Robert Wilson, and together they won the prestigious ‘Golden Lion’ award at the 1993 Venice Biennale for their installation Memory/Loss.

Since 2012, Kuhn has been guest professor in Sound Studies and Sonic Arts at the Universität der Künste in Berlin, Germany.

Find more information and access the video of the work online at


The Archive of Sculptors’ Papers

Leeds Museums and Galleries Archive of Sculptors’ Papers based at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds is a rich and fascinating collection which tells the story of British sculpture. The Archive is free to use and all visitors are welcome.

The working lives of hundreds of sculptors are captured in their photographs, letters, drawings and sketchbooks, alongside film, digital records and even tools and costume.

The archive is free to use, but visits must be booked in advance so that we can get items ready for viewing.

Visits can be booked Tuesday to Friday, 10:00–17:00.


Leeds Museums & Galleries

Leeds Museums & Galleries are the largest local authority-run museum service in England, with one of the most significant multidisciplinary collections in the UK. With a 200-year history, the collections encompass over 1.3 million items, which are cared for by expert teams across nine historic venues.

Leeds Museums & Galleries creates unforgettable experiences by connecting people and places through objects and artworks, working with local communities to share stories from the past and present, to shape a better future for the people of Leeds and beyond.

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Founded in 1888, Leeds Art Gallery has designated collections of 19th and 20th century British painting and sculpture widely considered to be the best outside of the national collections. The collection represents the work of early 20th century artists such as Walter Sickert and Stanley Spender, with the development of English modernism shown through key works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Paul Nash, Jacob Epstein and Francis Bacon.

The gallery is a renowned centre for modern and contemporary art with an exhibition programme that has showcased work of celebrated artists such as Sonia Boyce OBE RA in her exhibition Feeling Her Way commissioned by the British Council for the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, 2022, as well as Damien Hirst from the ARTIST ROOMS collection through strategic partnership projects with the National Galleries of Scotland and Tate, in addition to curating major exhibitions together with Tate, Arts Council Collection, Hayward Touring and other important partners. Leeds Art Gallery has established a strong reputation for initiating, commissioning and curating solo exhibitions by significant artists attractions national and international attention.

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Leeds Sculpture Collection

Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute have a longstanding partnership. Which today sees the Henry Moore Institute oversee the administration and curatorial development of the Leeds Museums and Galleries sculpture collection. This partnership has built one of the strongest collections of British sculpture in the country.

With the introduction of support from the Henry Moore Foundation in 1982, through the establishment of the Henry Moore Centre for the Study of Sculpture, Leeds confirmed its status as an international centre for the study and appreciation of sculpture.

The Leeds Sculpture Collection comprises of over 800 objects, 400 works on paper and the Henry Moore Institute Archive of over 270 collections of papers relating to sculptors. The collections are principally British from c.1875 to the present day.

The collections are actively acquired through both donation and purchase, with the sculpture and archive collections supplemented by the Henry Moore Institute Research Library, which provides invaluable research material on the holdings. Together the collections form a fuller teaching and study resource than any other national or regional collection.

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