Welcome to our 4th annual report from the Eastern Suburbs. It’s October in Sydney and that means one thing.
Sculptures by the Sea.
We would once again be joined by our fellow Art Critic (and occasional Art purchaser) Adam.
As always we would be taking the South to North route starting at Tamarama Beach and finishing at Bondi for some post inspection drinks and food.
Unfortunately we had some pretty dramatic weather so the lighting is not the best.
The start of the walk is normally jam packed with sculptures on Tamarama Beach and 2017 was no exception.
A large single piece of bronzed metal was our first sculpture – Existence (Just a Loop in Time) by German sculptor Jorg Plickat. Next to it on the reserve was Autumn Moon in the Sky by Chinese artist Chen Whenling. An amazing modern twist on traditional themes of harmony between heaven and human.
You may remember the protagonist of this piece – the red actor from 2015. This style is a signature of Chen’s and a red man is included in every piece.
The stand out item on the beach itself was an item from local artist Linton Meagher – a red chair juxtaposed atop a tall platform bedecked in Red and Yellow Flags. The flags were sewed together by volunteers from retirement homes across Sydney and included cartoonish eyes – invoking a notion of looking out for others.
We also had an expressionist inspired sculpture, a spider’s web, fish and a dolphin.
As we climbed the stair to the Tamarama SLSC and onwards we noticed a bunch of Pacific Island inspired sand figures overlooking the beach below. Rise and Fall by James Sheehan is a changing artwork that allows decay and weathering to play a part.
After the Surf Life Saving Club the terrain changes to rugged coastline and narrow walkways as we navigated around Mackenzie’s Bay. Here the art ranged from the subtle items wrapped around a tree or the gold coloured rock (Klondike by Karl Chilcott and Grounded by Charles Trivers) to the not so conspicuous surfers (Trip I,II and II by April Pine)
One of Karen’s favourites was Under One Sky by Stephen Marr.
The pièce de résistance in this section (for john)was a work called Are We There Yet? by Jane Gillings. This amazing entry snaked all the way along the railings of the stairwell up to Mark’s Park and contained hundreds of toy cars. Some were very recognisable as was the scene – miles of traffic jams in Sydney.
A picture does not do it justice so here is a video.
The last big collection of artwork is located on Mark’s Park, overlooking both Bondi Beach and the Tasman Sea.
Stand out piece here would be The Last Charge by Harrie Fasher.
The Last Charge was a motley collection of skeletal horses that captures that final moment of the Charge of the Australian Light Horse at the Battle of Beersheba (1917).
A little shack was tucked away at the back of Mark’s Park that was also part of the exhibition. Inconvenience Store by Marina Debris (no pun intended) was a collection of all the crap that gets dumped on beaches of nearby Bronte, Coogee and Tamarama. 26 Santa Hats, thousands of plastic Soy Sauce Fish bottles, to discarded coffee cups and a pair of thongs. Since 2009 she has been picking up that rubbish and more to turn her piece into “Art with a message”.
Best until last?
As we made our way to Bondi Icebergs and beyond there was time for a few last sculptures to finish off the day. As the terrain changes to sandstone rocky outcrops and narrow passageways there was some clever use of landscape for these final pieces.
The last sculpture, before the exit, was probably the most visually impressive.Rangerer by Xia Hang is a steampunk meet Transformers -esque beauty. The Chinese artist has a rich history of fusing steel plates and metal components to create his vision. And that vision is a gigantic weapon bristling cyborg fly. A warning of the future weaponization of Artificial Intelligence? Or just something cool to look at?
And that’s a wrap.
You can read about our previous visits here:
2014 & 2015 Sculptures By The Sea