I was lucky enough to attend the 13th annual ‘Sculpture by the Sea’ Exhibition at Bondi, Sydney over the weekend. I have been to exhibitions that have included sculpture, but none with an exclusive focus on sculpture…and what an introduction Sculpture by the Sea was…it was stunning.
The exhibition is presented in such a way that the sculptures nestle into the natural form of the coast line. After picking up an exhibition booklet ($10 and the only cost of the exhibition), art goers meander along the public access walkway that follows the edge of the cliff-face. The walkway and surrounds are transformed into an ambling ‘sculpture park’. On the farthest side of the exhibition when one’s feet are beginning to tire, the path leads down to the sand and the beach.
There were over 100 sculptures this year by Australian and international artists. Impressively, the organisers placed works by well known sculptors alongside artists with no formal qualifications, as well as those unrepresented by galleries, and pulled it off flawlessly. Every piece was placed just so – not only to present the most of the work, but to present the setting itself as an art-space on display. This was particularly true for the kinetic sculptures, the beautiful flag sculpture by Argentinian artist Alejandno Propato (picture above) and the works that mimicked organic forms like this piece ‘rising tension III’ by Tracy Luff.
These forms were made from circles of cardboard threaded onto fishing line knotted onto themselves. They hung underneath a small overhang in the cliff-face tucked into the enclave, just above eye height, swinging with the breeze.
There were also more classic bronze and wood sculptures, most of which were really impressive…. and much to my delight there were some very cheeky little sculptures…like the giant drinking straw in the sea and the inverse sandy footprints which led from the footpath down the bank to the waters edge, made from shoes coated with sand. My favourite pieces in the exhibition would have to be ‘subterfuge’ by Suzie Bleach & Andy Townsent:
and Keld Moseholm’s ‘to be or not to be’:
The Bondi exhibition is over for the year but you can view the image gallery on their website at http://sculpturebythesea.com/ . They also do exhibitions at Cottesloe in Western Australia and Aarhus in Denmark.