Related to City Art
Installed 2010
Several sculptures resembling glowing yellow trees with short, bare branches lifting a motorway overpass into the air. A sliver of evening sky peeks through the lanes of the overpasses.
Cars wait at a traffic light beneath a motorway overpass. Behind them, several sculptures resembling glowing yellow trees with short, bare branches appear to support the motorway overpass.
Several tree-like sculptures appear to support a motorway overpass. It is daytime, and the sculpture is not illuminated, so the trees look white and opaque.

Initiated by the people of Pyrmont and Ultimo, this illuminated forest of trees appears to hold up the freeway.

Artist: Warren Langley

Artwork description

Aspire by Warren Langley features glowing golden trees that appear to rise up and hold aloft the enormous weight of the overhead freeway structure. This work beneath the Western Distributor at Ultimo references the community action in nearby Fig Street. This action resulted in the preservation of local housing which would have been demolished for the freeway.

This artwork in light addresses the notion of aspiration which was evident in the community action and provides a historical metaphor for it.

From a sculptural perspective the work intercepts the geometry of the site, by introducing an incongruous element between the contoured ground surface and the vast concrete planes above. With the tree forms effectively wedged between the ground and the underside of the freeway, an illusion is created where the ‘forest’ of illuminated trees appears to suspend aloft the visual weight of the freeway.

The glowing trees, made of high density polyethylene, can be enjoyed at close quarters by pedestrians and from afar by passing traffic. They improve pedestrian amenity and increase safety. The appearance of the light sculptures varies depending on the surrounding ambient light levels.

“Aspire acknowledges the growth and perpetuation of neighbourhoods within the city landscape.”

– Warren Langley


Warren Langley is a Sydney-based artist who creates site-related works for the built environment and natural settings. Light art, and works using light in conjunction with glass and other permanent materials, feature extensively in his work.


Aspire was the successful proposal for Life Under the Freeway, a public art project which started with local community workshops in 2000.

Artists responded to an open expression of interest and a shortlist of artists prepared concepts to tender for the project. Proposals by the 6 shortlisted artists were on public exhibition in Ultimo for 3 months.

Members of the community were involved in developing the brief and selecting the artists. The selection panel also included members of our Public Art Advisory Panel.

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