Sculpture by the Sea 2010

Image via Tom Häkkinen
From the 2008 Sculpture by the Sea :
Kozo Nishino's "Harmony with the Breeze"
Transfield Holdings Kinetic Art Prize winner
This weekend Esther and I finally got around to having a look at the annual “Sculpture by the Sea” sculpture exhibition between Bondi and Tamarama Beaches.

The event, which began in 1996, has been getting and better - with perhaps only 1 or 2 pieces of sculpture that looked like rubbish that hadn’t been cleaned-up. There were at least 3 that I found outstanding. Which for me seems incredible, a contemporary sculpture exhibition where the good pieces of art outnumber the cobbled-together pieces of rubbish. To be sure, there were a few sculptures that couldn’t help but elicit a silent “I could do better than that” in my head, but only 1 real stinker. Unfortunately I didn’t buy the exhibition catalogue so I can’t name and shame the artist for who contributed the plastic cups tied with string and dripping water, but if you went you’d remember who I’m referring to. The other sculpture that I didn’t like, actually looked like it might have taken quite a lot of effort, but unfortunately, the end-result looked like a suburban backyard where the kids hadn’t tidied-away their toys (I think this is a real risk that sculptors are running when they use either bright colours or plastic materials in an outdoor exhibition). Unfortunately I forgot to charge my camera beforehand as well, so no pictures - I'll try to see what I can find on the internet and put some links down the bottom.

My favourite artist, whose work is so distinctive you will immediately know it is his without having to refer to the catalogue, is Kaoru Matsumoto. He generally creates kinetic pieces that move in the wind, this year’s entrance was “Cycle 90º A Premonition of Wind III”. It was a sublime piece of art, which moved slowly yet unpredictably in the wind. I have no idea how Matsumoto must have figured out the centre of gravity of all the different moving parts to make its movements so counter-intuitive, but when you look at it, “gravity-defying” and “weightless” are the first words to enter your head, such is the effortlessness of the sculpture’s lazy movements in the sky. The best thing about Sculpture by the Sea, especially on a sunny day like Saturday was, is to lie on the grass and watch a sculpture like “Cycle 90º” against the slow-moving clouds. A great, shiny construction of polished stainless steel - moving in as if it were a part of nature. The other great thing about this work of art is that although it must be quite heavy and is made of steel, it moves completely silently and its polished surfaces are so seamlessly-perfect that it is very difficult to find where the actual moving parts are joined.

Image via Tom Häkkinen
Moseholmian figures: "Project" by Danish
artist Keld Moseholm, on display during the
2008 Sculpture by the Sea
The $60,000 Balnaves Foundation Sculpture Prize however went to another artist whose work is equally distinctive. As I explained to Esther on the way to the exhibition:

“You know the guy who does the little fat men”
“He won it this year”

Mirroring 1995” by Danish artist Keld Moseholm can be immediately recognised for its distinctively rotund Moseholmian bronze figures. It’s good to see Moseholm winning this year, because his little fat men have always been something to look forward to - especially if some of the other sculptures have been a little less than exciting.


Gary Hayes' photo of “Cycle 90º A Premonition of Wind III” on Flickr

Gary Hayes' photos of Sculpture by the Sea on Flickr

Designboom - some website that also has some photos of this year's Sculpture by the Sea


JJ said...

Sounds like a great time!

Akseli Koskela said...

It was. I think that a beach is in fact a good setting for a sculpture exhibition - the open sky makes a great back-drop for most sculptures, but it's also pretty neutral.

JJ said...

Yes. I am now noticing the back-drop for other sculptures. It is fascinating to speculate what was in the mind of the artist with respect to the setting. Great post!