‘Reflection of a Journey‘, Torild Storvik Malmedal (2015); marble and glass. Seen at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, 2018. Image: Su Leslie
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.
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.
Posted to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge | Blending In –Or Standing Out?
Short postcard today. I was up early, and walking the Bondi sculpture trail before 8am to avoid the heat and crowds.
Definitely the way to go– but my knee is paying for all the stairs and steep streets between Tamarama Beach and Bondi Road.
Walking, Wei Wang. Bronze sculpture, visitor and resting bird.
Sea Scene, Rebecca Rose (a New Zealand artist).
These were some of my favourite shots.
The other nice thing about getting to Bondi early, is that it left lots of time to do other things too. so I’ve been “playing tourist” wandering along Circular Quay and past the Opera House.
While I admire the exterior architecture, I’m not a great fan of the interior and couldn’t face the stairs up to the entrance.
Instead, I went to the NSW State Library.
Like the Victoria State Library in Melbourne, this is housed in a beautiful neo-classical building (oops, forgot to photograph the exterior I was so keen to see inside).
The main reading room is lovely
… and I was very taken with this ‘Curate your own Exhibition’ activity on the lower floor. There were two boxes of prints that people could put into the frames. A lovely way to engage visitors.
I’ll leave you with the sunset view from my balcony — sans wine tonight. I’m just too tired.
For anyone who knows me, it will be no surprise that I’ve chosen images of sculptures for this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge on the theme of curve. If there is anything unexpected here, it’s that I’ve been so restrained in the number of images chosen.
It’s difficult to convey the scale of Anish Kapoor’s ‘Dismemberment, Site 1. The work is 85 metres long (278 feet); a steel and fabric tube whose ends are 25 metres x 8 metres (82 feet x 26 feet). It literally sits between two hills on a vast rural estate facing the Kaipara Harbour.
Of course size isn’t everything. Potter Rod Davies creates domestic-scale ceramic works; many of which are based on curving forms. ‘Ocean Swell’ is one of my favourites.
Travel is a huge treat for me. Unlike my partner, for whom overseas trips are frequent but mostly work-related, my journeys are few but mainly for pleasure.
Sydney isn’t exactly “new” to me, having visited a few times before. But last week was the first time I’d gone there alone, so was free to explore at my own pace. The excuse for my trip was to visit Sculpture by the Sea, an annual exhibition held at Bondi Beach, but I was also able to see some other fabulous art, meet a fellow blogger for lunch, and generally enjoy the luxury of a few days away from the routine of everyday life.
I love art, and sculpture in particular, so visiting Sculpture by the Sea was a real treat. I feel very privileged to have seen so many great works in such an amazing setting.
I’ve already shared some photos of the exhibition in these posts below …
… so I’ll only add a couple more.
When I told my son I was planning to meet up with fellow blogger, Margaret Rose Stringer (of Adjusting my Background), he (only slightly tongue-in-cheek) repeated back to me all the advice I’ve given him over the years about “real world” meetings with online friends. I guess this is the bit where I have to confess I, um, didn’t take my own advice — unless you consider the door to M-R’s building a “safe, public meeting place”. But I’m happy to report that Margaret Rose is for real; and as cool and interesting as her online persona. We had a delicious lunch, lots of laughs and set the world to rights. Thank you M-R — spending the afternoon with you, Jocie and the beautiful, reclusive Lui Stringer was a treat indeed.
My first trip to Sydney was in 1988, not long after the Queen Victoria Building had reopened. Occupying an entire city block, George McRae’s Romanesque Revival design of 1898 was refurbished in the 1980s and is now home to lots of interesting shops and cafes. Architecturally ornate, I fell in love with its elaborate, luxurious magic on that first trip and always feel the need to revisit.
This time around, the building was already decked out for Christmas, with a massive tree occupying the full height of the central atrium.
However simple, fresh food, prepared with care is always a treat. In the foyer of a city building I was served this folded, toasted flatbread with tomato, and a rocket salad dressed simply with olive oil. Food like this inspires me; simple, thoughtful, visually attractive and delicious to eat.
My post for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge is very late this week. I’ve been in Sydney to visit the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition, and found posting from my iPad more than a little challenging!
Sculpture by the Sea is an annual outdoor exhibition that locates around 100 works of three dimensional art along a stretch of coastal walkway from Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach, Sydney*. The exhibition is free to attend and attracts many thousands of visitors — most of whom (like me) seemed to descend on it last Sunday.
Experiencing art amongst a crowd is never particularly easy. It’s almost impossible to get an uninterrupted view of a work, and as for quiet contemplation ….
The flip-side of course, is that there is pleasure to be had in watching and listening to others’ enjoyment of particular works — especially children, who haven’t yet developed the self-censorship that inhibits adults.
But what I noticed about the Bondi exhibition that I didn’t see (or at least register) at last year’s NZ Sculpture OnShore exhibition in Auckland, was the huge number of visitors who seemed to regard the artworks as little more than a backdrop for their selfies. Now, as someone for whom photographing art has become a major passion (and who travelled over 2000km to Sydney to do just that), I’m hardly going to criticize other camera-wielding visitors. But I watched group after group race up to a work, pose themselves with a smart phone at arms’ length, snap a photo and move on, barely glancing at the sculpture itself. Some posed themselves (or their children) on works — despite the prominent “do not climb on sculpture” signs — to get “better” photos.
The experience of art is uniquely personal, and free exhibitions like Bondi make it possible for many people who would never dream of visiting a gallery to see and engage with the creative output of a large group of talented artists. How sad then, that for some visitors, the focus seemed to be on themselves as central characters in a landscape that contained so much else to appreciate.
One sculpture in the exhibition specifically referenced the way mobile technologies have changed our world-view. Fabio Pietrantonio has sculpted two figures; boys playing video games on hand-held devices. Set against the backdrop of dazzling blue water, their focus entirely on the object in their hands, the work acts as a reminder of how easy it is to turn inward and ignore the beauty of the world around us.
*There is also a sister exhibition at Cottesloe, Western Australia.