(2) weekly roundup 6 November 2016

Two related events – last week Sydney Sculpture Conference 2016 – Sculpture: in Public Space, this week a day spent at Sculpture by the sea (http://sculpturebythesea.com/).

The conference was held sitting under the concrete ribs of the Utzon room of the Sydney Opera House, so very much talking about sculpture in a sculpture. The keynote address was by Clare Lilley, Director of Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park UK. My brief notes on ideas that particularly resonated:

  • Close links to community, a sense of ownership
  • A normal place where extra-ordinary things happen or are seen
  • Not static, not locking down the land. Very few sculptures are owned, many are loaned, there are temporary projects
  • Landscape is a generator as well as background. It reveals itself, unravels. Sculpture can energise a part of the landscape, bring attention to it. A particular example, a skyspace by James Turrell can change the perception of self, the feeling of where you are.
  • Sculptures have a physical, sensory relationship with people. There are often experiential projects, eliciting an emotional connection
  • There is a space for young artists, also a focus on working with children, developing habits of engaging with cultural experiences.
  • Sculpture nourishes the spirit, spurs dialogue, imagination, curiosity
  • Lots of discussion during the day related to what “site specific” means or entails.

  • Chris Booth (http://www.chrisbooth.co.nz/) – his approach varies depending on circumstance. He put great emphasis on contacts with indigenous people, working with them throughout.
  • Sculpture may have site specificity, with understanding and paying honour to the land, or be more an outdoor museum.
  • One speaker described the work on the land to accommodate a sculpture. Is that site specific?
  • Other topics

  • Some spoke of being dynamic – artistic, for visitors, continuing relevance. Others disagreed, but I’m not clear on the alternatives. Perhaps contemplative, or maybe those things you’ve never thought of but seem obvious or necessary when you see them.
  • The need for space – not crowding or noise. Which was seen as a potential problem for some sculpture parks, but others could be sufficient, complete, an enduring moment.
  • Intensity of time
  • An unguarded moment
  • Catalyst.
  • Ephemeral / temporary / durational. All meaning not solid and stable and long-lasting.
  • Lots of names to follow up, including:
    Jörg Plickat http://www.plickat-sculpture.de/english.html
    Storm King Art Center http://stormking.org/
    Naoshima, Japan (I think http://benesse-artsite.jp/en/)
    Ian Hamilton Findlay http://www.ianhamiltonfinlay.com/ http://www.littlesparta.org.uk/home.htm
    McClelland Sculpture Park http://www.mcclellandgallery.com/
    Katie Paterson – Future Library http://www.situations.org.uk/projects/katie-paterson-future-library/
    Claire Doherty http://www.situations.org.uk/project/

    Anita Larkin

    Anita Larkin

    The day finished with a reception at the Stanley Street Gallery. Borne (http://stanleystreetgallery.com.au/
    ) challenged sculptors to make jewellery. A wide range of responses – many challenging the idea of “wearable”! It was great chatting with various artists, including Anita Larkin (I did a felting class with her years ago). She explained her work using piano dampers and felt, including ear and eye pieces to quieten noise and distractions, and button on pockets to hold necessities – everything a busy person needs to cope with the potentially overwhelming stimulus and distractions of modern life.

    An eye on process and progress
    As I type this it is Sunday afternoon and the familiar decision point – where to spend time.

    Is this blog worth the time? Even as I prepare the entry it proves its worth – I find that I’ve written about some of the same artists before, that the topic of a lecture links to past research, all sorts of connections made and memory refreshed by a quick search on the blog.

    But it takes longer and longer to write as I follow those links, stray onto a new / renewed line of thought…

    Plus there’s a week’s class with Ruth Hadlow starting tomorrow. There have been preparations, but I’m not prepared.

    Balance. Breathe. Pencil it in, flesh out as I can.

    Sculpture by the Sea
    A beautiful warm and sunny Sydney day with a light but welcome sea breeze. Interesting to watch what pulled my attention. Surprising consistency with previous experiences (thank you blog), but certainly a shift of focus in response to recent interests.

    The text on this will be added later.

    Nude: Art from the Tate collection
    This exhibition opened on the weekend with a lecture by Emma Chambers The naked and the nude: Repositioning the artist’s model. The talk, although a bit on the dry and academic side, served as a good introduction to the different approaches and purposes of artists. A reminder of my Art History section on figure sculptures (13-Jun-2014).

    A brief orientation visit to the exhibition itself. No photos allowed unfortunately.

    Louise Marshall The image of the perfect prince: Federigo da Montefeltra, Duke of Urbino (part of the AGNSW Collectors & Collections series).
    An amazing man, brilliant military commander (paid to stay off the field of battle!), spent lavishly on architecture and art. Breath-taking intarsia (the marquetry, not the knitting kind). A journey towards perfection.

    Professor Peter McNeil Yves Saint Laurent – designer to collector; Or, ‘the funeral of my collection (part of the AGNSW Collectors & Collections series).
    A side question – What is the role of fashion in societal change – an effect, or enabling?
    Some beautiful, beautiful interiors, surprisingly varied.

    Drawing class
    Two sessions since the last update. Still-life, concentrating on dark, medium, light tones.

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    Calendar of Posts

    November 2016
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