Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2014

Lucy Humphrey Sculpture

Lucy Humphrey, “Horizon”, Sculpture by the Sea Bondi 2013. Photo: Clyde Yee

Sculpture by the Sea is one of the most popular art events in Australia and an institution in the Sydney art calendar. It takes place this year from 23 October to 9 November bringing together more than 100 sculptures by artists from 16 countries. The spectacular coastal walk on the ocean between Bondi and Tamarama beaches East of Sydney is an incredibly attractive scenery for the hundreds of thousands of visitors who attend the outdoor exhibition every year. Some of the sculptures are made specifically for the exhibition, a fact that confirms the high profile of the show. This exceptional showcase gives us a unique opportunity to discover emerging artists and to follow the trajectory of a number of those who were selected in previous years by the curatorial panel.

Elaine Clocherty Sculpture

Elaine Clocherty, “Together”, Sculpture by the Sea Bondi 2012. Photo: Clyde Yee

I’ve been lucky enough to visit the exhibition during the last three years and I could truly describe many of the sculptures -whether they were or not my cup of tea, such is the enticing power of the wise displaying of the sculptures in the landscape. Particularly, I remember a few ones that impressed me such as Horizon by Lucy Humphrey and Aquarium of the Pacific Gyre, by Marina DeBris in 2013; Open House, by Aaron Anderson & Anne Zahalka in 2011; and Together (2012), by Elaine Clocherty, who has won this year’s Helen Lempriere scholarship to an emerging sculptor with an ephemeral site-specific intervention inspired by the water marks and seaweeds in Tamarama beach. Also, in future events, I would like to see more installations in the line of Mirador, by Rachel Couper & Ivana Kuzvanovska, one of the most popular works in the 2012 exhibition that brings into question the limits between sculpture and architecture.

Marina DeBris Sculpture

Maria deBris, “Aquarium of the Pacific Gyre”, Sculpture by the Sea Bondi 2013. Photo: Clyde Yee

As I look over this particular list of some of the sculptures I appreciated the most, I realize that none of the artists who have created them are properly sculptors in the traditional sense but photographers, performers and artists that use recycled materials or rubbish found on the beaches. All of them have one thing in common: to take the most of the landscape and the setting and to include it in their sculpture. It is clear that my interests are well defined and by telling them I would like to express how the excellence of this show is based on the variety of proposals which appeals to all kinds of public, from art professionals to enthusiasts including people who seldom, if ever, visit art exhibitions. There is no doubt that the curatorial panel that makes the annual selection of sculptures has an immense task to select works that are eye-catching and, at the same time, gather good qualities in their materials and construction properties.

Sculpture by the Sea also holds an annual event in Cottesloe Beach, Perth. The artists’ participation is increasing year after year and is over 70 sculptors in 2015 (6-22 March). In Europe, Aarhus in Denmark is the site for the European exhibition (5 June-5 July 2015).

By Paula Llull

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2 responses

  1. Thanks for this wonderful comment. I find that the major value of this exhibition is its huge attendance, its social impact and the incredible scenery but a more careful curation is highly needed at least in a section of the exhibit

  2. Thanks, Luis. In my opinion, this event is close to the audience just because it doesn’t follow a curatorial selection as we could see it in a conventional exhibition. The huge acceptation of Sculpture by the Sea lies in its apparently eclectic collection of sculptures following a basic -but not simple- curatorial approach: the combination of an exceptional setting with a group of striking sculptures.

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