Isn’t it mesmerizing to look at?
The sculpture above is one of the 100 beautiful displays by artists from Australia and across the world currently exhibited in the open along Australia’s Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach.
Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2019, is the world’s largest annual free-to-the-public outdoor sculpture exhibition. Since 1997, the creative sculptures have been attracting half a million people.
What’s amazing is that each one of these amazing sculptures have an interesting back story. We picked 10 sculptures that might pique your curiosity.
This is a Monument to Soviet tank, a national cultural monument for Soviet Russia at that time. It was painted pink in 1991 by David Černý.
The art piece led to David’s brief arrest before it was relocated to a Military Museum, some 20km south of Prague. In 2012 it temporarily moved to the Prague centre again, because of the Week of Freedom. The tank you’ll see in Sydney was recreated.
This is not the only provocative piece by Cerny, though. He has made several including giant babies crawling up Prague’s communist-era television tower and, most recently, a skyscraper in the Czech capital that looks like a shipwreck.
Two-times former winner of Sculpture by the Sea, Vaclav Fiala, was unable to resist the call to exhibit once again in the Great Southern Land.
Fiala’s seven-metre high steel tower is a homage to Jan Palach, the Czech student who set himself on fire in political protest in 1969. It stands a few metres away from Cerny’s tank, and catches the first rays of the sun every morning.
It’s a labour of love for Valcav who was a student at the time, and deeply shocked as he watched Palach’s political sacrifice. “At that moment, I felt the suffering of the boy,” he said via an interpreter. “I could sense his heroic act. I just felt proud that people like this existed.”
Born in Marienbad, on the Czech German border, Keywan studied with Lyndon Dadswell. His sculpture is set apart by a careful consideration of the interaction between viewer and sculpture, an elegant linearity and a unique engagement of space.
Art critic John McDonald, previously commented in the Sydney Morning Herald that ‘all of Keywan’s works may be seen as a conversation between opposing quantities and qualities. Line is pitted against mass, steel or aluminium against wood or plastic’.
Danae Nikolaidi-Kotsaki was born in Athens (1992) and went to the Experimental Music High School and the Lyceum of Pallini. She studied at the School of Fine Arts of Athens with Professor Giorgos Lappas. Her work tackles primarily physicality and interaction.
The installations and sculptures she creates are movable, invested with her own compositions or sound environments. They sometimes produce sound themselves through motion and performance. The main materials of her work are metal, ceramics, video and sound: live music or recorded compositions.
Danai Kotsaki’s ‘Between’ creates a sense of vertigo with the use of perspective and optical illusion.
David Jensz is an innovative contemporary sculptor whose practice spans studio-based works and public art commissions. David’s works are conceptually exploratory and finely crafted.
His practice is informed by physics and contemporary theories of space and time to investigate the nature of being. David is a freelance artist who works from his purpose built studio at Murrumbateman, near Canberra, Australia.
Born in Hangzhou in 1969, Shen Lieyi graduated from the Department of Sculpture, China Academy of Art in Hangzhou in 1995. Since 2002, he has been working at the China Academy of Art, engaging in the teaching and creation of public art.
Currently he is also the director of China Sculpture Institute, Vice-President of Zhejiang Sculptors Association, and the Executive Deputy Director of the Department of Public Space Art at the China Academy of Art.
‘Rain’ is a black granite sculpture with a hollow top, allowing for the sculpture to be filled with water. Exposed to the natural elements, the dynamic piece ebbs and flows in accordance to its surroundings.
Sally is a Western Australian artist living in East Fremantle. Her art practice is multi-disciplinary across sculpture, textiles and painting, and is concerned with exploring materials that reflect the Australian landscape and culture.
The concept of environmental change in the landscape due to human activity and climatic changes was a conscious consideration in the process of making the sculptural work Echo of the landscape. The artwork appears fragile in its transparency and yet it is constructed with strength and durability.
The concept of looking through the artwork is central, the boulders appear present however they are not solid and conflict with our sense of order and expectation. They ‘echo’ natural rock formations and allow for contemplation.
As an emerging artist focused on exploring connections between vision and movement in perception Nadia Odlum is exhibiting at Sculpture by the Sea for the first time this year. She’s thrilled to be a 2019 Helen Lempriere Scholarship recipient, giving her the opportunity to be a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome earlier this year.
Her work, called “This Present Moment, This Moving World”, is a two-way mirrored glass, concrete, powder-coated steel installation and will be on display at Marks Park in Tamarama.
Eiji Hayakawa is a sculpture artist from Japan who works with stainless steel. ‘Paprika’ is a larger than life replication of the vegetable.
The marble from this piece of work comes from the mountains dividing Pietrasanta and Carrara in Italy. Upon finishing a sculpture, a story seems to grow from the forms. Bird in Flight is the encapsulation of the spirit of land and sky.
Alongside the gravitas of the marble, the piece seems to float, dreamlike above the earthly plane. The sky spirit, the bird seems in a state of tumultuous joy.
When carving, the stone breathes its own will into its creation. Marble yields best when the carver is in a state of accord with the material. It is a relationship, a giving and a receiving which becomes quite mediative.
In this state mistakes, often so feared by the sculptor, are impossible, for if you are listening and open to suggestion, it’s as though you’re not even there, as though the will of the universe inhabits the process and uses you like a glove animated to its will.
There are many others too!