Standing out from the crowd

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Fatih Semiz; Curious Dreams of an Architect — III. Sculpture by the Sea 2018. Image: Su Leslie 2018

In one respect, placing over 100 contemporary sculptures around a coastal path in suburban Sydney does make them stand out — but it’s relative.

Some works,distinguished by their scale, colour, subject matter or position, couldn’t help but announce their presence.

 

Smaller, more subtle works sometimes seemed to blend in to the environment, and required time and closer inspection.

 

Other sculptures found themselves jostling for space. Over 40 of the 107 sculptures exhibited were sited in Marks Park, which is about midway around the Sculpture by the Sea trail. It is home to the pop-up gallery of smaller indoor sculptures and the event’s hospitality area, so despite some of the works being quite large, many simply didn’t stand out in the crowded space.

 

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are, by Sydney artists Gillie and Marc Schattner,  was the only work that really stood out for me in the Marks Park area. The artists’ statement says about it:

“The work calls on the world to welcome endangered species out from hiding, into a place of safety and love.”

And finally, there were works that weren’t always recognised as sculptures.

Several sites containing discarded items — including the bottles and cans below — formed a work concerned with the waste produced by our society.

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One element from Monique Bedwell’s, But It’s Not My Rubbish. Sculpture by the Sea, 2018. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Hossein Valamanesh’s Conversations, involved weaving Persian carpets into seven existing public benches sited along the coastal path. This chap was not the only visitor who seemed confused by the rather beautiful, if understated, work.

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One of the seven works in Hossein Valamanesh’s, Conversations. Sculpture by the Sea, 2018. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Posted to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge | Blending In –Or Standing Out?

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43 thoughts on “Standing out from the crowd

  1. Great pieces of art! Are they a permanent fixture at the beach? Or do they eventually return to a museum? I am glad you had someone standing near the sculptures to give a sense of the incredible size they have, Best wishes! Peter

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    • It’s an annual exhibition that runs for three weeks. The artists get some financial help to make the sculptures, then they are for sale at the exhibition. It has been running for 22 years, and is quite famous in Australia.

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    • The Buddha had the best site in the exhibition and became the sort of “poster-boy” for the show. But like you, I wasn’t that taken with it — compared to other work that could have benefited from such a prime site.

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  2. Good selection for this theme. Now I really want to get to it next year. We have a similar one month sculpture trail on our beach called “swell” in September about 70 exhibits this year, but I was in Broken Hill so missed that too.

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    • Thanks Tina. I think when artists know they are making work that will be exhibited outdoors — and in a natural environment — the work often speaks to concerns about that environment. Bondi always attracts work about pollution, water, bio-diversity, etc. Some of it works — other pieces, not so much 🙂

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  3. That Persian rug idea is fun and I’d be confused seeing it – also it surely will not last with the sea elements –
    And I like your top one – the come come, out one –
    And all
    Of these cretsuve sculptures were completely enjoyable tonight. It also made up for the art show I went to last week. My son and his gf and I stopped by this small one (while doing something else so it was just quick) and usually they have such great exhibits but this one – eh – not really that enjoyable – of course that is okay – has to do with our moods – theme of the show – and all that –
    And so seeing these sculptures was like “wow”
    And how fun to explore them in person

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    • I suspect the rugs would have been taken away with the other sculptures when the show ended. It’s strange how sometimes an exhibition will really excite you, and other times you just end up kind of wondering why the artists bothered?

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      • The rugs also might really last if they weee well made – I forgot about quality – here in the states we have so much china junk for sale and some it is stuff that falls apart – my spouse will not shop at the “dollar tree” – for a few reasons but partly for the junk factor – buying lstuff tonout in the landfill later this year- do you have these kind of stores in NZ?
        Anyhow – I am never one to not enjoy an art show – can always glean some things and pause at one point to get touched in a way that only an art show can do!
        But the art show I was at felt too polictial
        And then just did not care for the photos shared or the paintings! But there was one takeaway – it was this big cut out of a person and you could put your answer on with a sticker (fin intercayuve); the question asked was should corporations have legal rights that are the same as a person (something like that)
        We briefly read the three examples and chatted.
        Anyhow – enough of that!
        This sculpture display is fantastic and I look forward to seeing more posts with some of the other (107?) pieces….
        And what you shared here was (again) so cool. Coming out of manhood covers?? Great idea

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      • I didn’t photograph a lot of the work because a) the crowds made it hard to get a decent shot, and b) a lot of the work was very ho hum and I wasn’t that interested.
        We have had an explosion of those cheap junk stores here too and the (short) road from shelf to landfill is one of the many reasons I don’t shop there either. I am trying very hard to be a conscious consumer, and I must say it is working. We generate so little household rubbish we only put out one 60 litre sack for collection every two weeks — compared to the neighbourhood norm of a (usually overflowing) 120 litre bin each week. I really don’t understand how people have so much rubbish.

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      • Oh Su, that is awesome regarding the 60 litre sack….
        and I do not understand it either.
        Well I sorta do. For example, all the processed crap food just so happens to be bad for the body, often costs more, and comes with extra packaging – (los-lose-lose)
        and so when we started eating cleaner – i was shocked at how much less trash we had. But we were never one to fill our weekly bin….
        and some of the biggest advocates I know say that of the R’s (reduce, reuse, and recycle) argue that reducing is the potent one to start with

        and I just got a few of the pictures together (from the recent art show) to show you what it was like (and this has been chatting about art… and recycling)

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      • You’re absolutely right. Clean eating is essential. We plan meals fairly carefully and cook real food from scratch so there isn’t much waste. And our food scraps are composted anyway.
        Reducing is the key I think. We really all need to stop and ask ourselves “do I need this?”
        Looking forward to seeing the art show photos 😀

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      • oh what a good idea! makes sense.
        and in a way it is sad that we have so much technology and advancements in the culture, but not even mindfulness of the little things that make a huge difference for the world’s health.

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      • Sometimes I feel like culturally, we have completely lost our way. Makes it more important than ever that those of us who do practice mindful living share the experience and encourage, especially the young, to follow suit. 😀

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  4. Pingback: Time For Art #3 (Political-Legal: Corporation as a Person?) – priorhouse blog

    • Like you, I liked the interactive piece. I recently went to an exhibition celebrating 125 years of women’s suffrage in NZ. It had several interactive installations, but the one that really struck me asked visitors to place a coloured token on a panel representing the issue they thought was the country’s most pressing. The tokens were different colours according to the gender that visitors identified with. What the exhibit did was show, in a very simple, visual way, how gender is related to the issues that matter to us. Men were most likely to saw cutting taxes was the most important issue, while women were overwhelmingly represented on the “equal pay” board, and on issues like housing and the environment. Those who identified as neither male nor female gender tended to be more aligned with the female tokens. I found it really fascinating and revealing.

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