| Art

The Unbearable Reward of Art: LUAP

A preview of LUAP’s €250,000 art prize

LUAP, Searching Through My Memories. Oil And Acrylic on Ply, 2021. 274cm x 183cm

Unpacking, then re-packing, mental wellbeing into a single instantly recognisable avatar, LUAP’s pink bear crystallises positive energy into artworks which are disarmingly direct.

LUAP, also known as the artist Paul Robinson, works in a variety of media following a process that is somewhat… involved. Backpacking a bear suit to the heights of the Patagonian Andes, to the dry steppe of Mongolia, to isolated beaches in Australia, Robinson selects backdrops which exemplify the exuberance of untamed nature, then photographs the bear in situ. The photographs form the core reference for LUAP’s hyper-realistic acrylic paintings and sculptures; dramatic works of composition and colour that simultaneously evoke the fragility of our planet’s wild spaces, as well as inspiring resilience and child-like wonder (Robinson fixed upon the pink bear when asked in a cognitive behavioural therapy session to picture a happy image from his childhood).

LUAP, The Pink Bear Pavilion in construction, 2024
LUAP, The Pink Bear Pavilion in construction, 2024

LUAP’s most recent, and most ambitious project to date sees the installation of a four-metre tall iteration of the bear, rendered from recycled plastics, at The Pink Bear Pavilion at the Altonaler Balkon in Hamburg (Germany). The public artwork will be unveiled as part of the Altonale Festival, in collaboration with The University of Europe for Applied Sciences (UE), and will be exhibited alongside a collection of works from UE graduates and alumni. As part of its ongoing investment in art, design and technology, UE has also announced a series of 17 ‘LUAP Pink Bear Scholarships’, which to the tune of €250,000 in total promises to encourage a new wave of artistic exploration.

The Pink Bear Pavilion, 30 May – 9 June, Hamburg.

The Pink Bear Pavilion (under construction) by LUAP © 2024
The Pink Bear Pavilion (under construction) by LUAP

Award Notes

The University of Europe for Applied Sciences (UE) is delighted to announce the unveiling of a major new public artwork by British artist LUAP (Paul Robinson) as part of a landmark collaboration. A four-metre- tall, walk-in installation fabricated using recycled plastics, The Pink Bear Pavilion is LUAP’s largest sculpture to date and pays homage to the London-based artist’s recurring motif of a pink bear. The Pink Bear Pavilion can be seen from 30 May to 9 June at the Altonaler Balkon, as part of the Altonale Festival in Hamburg.

Embodying a fusion of art, design and cutting-edge technology, The Pink Bear Pavilion also acts as a significant figurehead to mark a major component of this ongoing project – the UE’s granting of 17 ‘LUAP Pink Bear Scholarships’. Two of these will be full scholarships, and the overall fund for the grant is a staggering €250,000.

The Pink Bear Pavilion expands on the artist’s continued exploration of his Pink Bear creation – a recurring motif throughout his paintings, photography, performance and murals in which lie global themes that

delve into many universal facets of humanity: mental well-being, environmental awareness and interpersonal relationships. This multifaceted creation encompasses all three dimensions. In his wider practice, LUAP draws inspiration from his own experiences, and by painting from his own photography, he layers abstraction and hyperrealism to dynamically render his unique perception of the world. His traditional practice finds a counterpart in his thirst for adventure, as an artist who embraces uncertainty, immersing himself in extreme environmental settings and pushing the limits of endurance to improve his well-being whilst he captures his striking photographs.

Initially conceived as a sanctuary for LUAP, the bear has evolved into a symbol of comfort for all. In parallel, the structure of the pavilion has come from miniature to monumental, originally sculpted in plasticine before being 3D-scanned and scaled. From a mere 6cm to now 4m tall, what was handheld has become all-embracing. Stepping into the bear head is akin to entering the bear’s mind – a sanctuary, a refuge. As such, visitors stepping into the large-scale The Pink Bear Pavilion are invited not only into a profound immersion into the artist’s world, but also an experience of art from the perspective of a child, transporting them to a place of wide-eyed openness.

The inner vault of the pavilion also serves as a dynamic canvas, showcasing projects by LUAP and 12 UE students. This symbiotic presentation not only echoes the ethos of the Pink Bear but also underscores the importance of inclusion and diversity as central themes, with visitors invited to forge connections with one another while exploring artworks that celebrate diversity, foster bonds, and promote inclusion.

Featured within The Pink Bear Pavilion is the project “Sinnentaumel” by UE alumna Fenja Rebell, which delves into the perception of colours and sensory experiences, impressions and exploring methods to how they can be made accessible to children with visual impairments. Additionally, UE graduate Leslie Vogt presents her project “STOP PLAYING GAMES WITH OUR LIVES,” a multimedia awareness campaign that combines the communicative power of illustration, gaming, and fashion.

LUAP, Searching Through My Memories. Oil And Acrylic on Ply, 2021. 274cm x 183cm
LUAP, Searching Through My Memories, 2021.

In collaboration with Nagami, CH2O, and Exarchitects, LUAP’s pavilion boasts a surface crafted from 2500 kg of recycled plastic, brought to life with the precision of eight large robotic arms. Reflecting LUAP’s unwavering commitment to sustainability, the pavilion’s construction champions eco-consciousness through the utilization of recycled materials, FSC-certified timber and cutting-edge 3D printing technology.

Prof. Dr. Jiré Emine Gözen, Vice-President for International Affairs and University Development at UE, commented: “The absolute necessity of inclusion and accessibility in cultural venues has been increasingly discussed and demanded in recent years and is now fortunately being implemented more and more – blind and visually impaired individuals can gain multisensory access to art through a tactile ground guidance system, tactile models, and inclusive audio guides. Through this joint project with LUAP, we aim to draw more attention to this issue – culture and education should be accessible to everyone and not just a privilege of a few. Therefore, with the help of scholarships awarded as part of this project, we want to open up paths for talents who cannot afford to study.” 

Ensuring unrestricted access to art and culture for all people is also important to LUAP, as he himself had to overcome some challenges in his youth to realize his dream. He commented on his collaboration with UE: “The decision to partner with UE is very personal to me. I remember struggling with financial challenges as a dedicated teenager arising from my ambitions as an artist – I received a hardship fund at university. So when I heard that scholarships would be awarded as part of this project with UE, it was clear to me that I am now in a position to help others too. Given the budget cuts in the arts, this partnership becomes even more important as it ensures that talented individuals receive the support they need to realize their dreams.” 

You can find application criteria and details about the scholarship here, please visit: 


The Pink Bear Pavilion will be on display for two weeks as part of the altonale Festival, Hamburg, after which it will be showcased at the UE Berlin campus. Additionally, in September, UE students will have the opportunity to participate in a workshop with the artist behind the installation, LUAP (Paul Robinson). 



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