Friday, April 28, 2006

Chronic Artism

Here's a pic of one of the sculptures outside the Victorian houses of parliament in Spring Street:

Jem writes:

I Googled for more information and learned that "artist Charles Robb said the inversion of La Trobe questioned the purpose of public monuments and their meaning in contemporary society."

So in other words, when I walk past it every day I'm supposed to think "what's the point of that stupid thing? What a waste of money."

I kind of like it. Maybe it's a little obvious, trying to turn our perceptions of art on its head by, er, turning the art on its head, but it appeals to my sense of humour. It works - partly because Melbourne is such a neat city, with the city center and many of the suburbs being neatly divided into several main blocks, with side alleys running off at right angles.

There are other sculptures like it. For instance, the side of the Potter museum:

And, my absolute favourite, outside the Victorian state library:

It's like the thing is sinking into the pavement. What can I say? It appeals to my sense of humour.
Of course, this idea can get taken too far. For instance, just imagine if Salvador Dali drew a triangle and an octagon, and those two shapes both dropped tabs of acid, fucked like crazy, and gave birth to a mutant offspring.
Well, that mutant offspring would probably look exactly like Federation Square:

The general idea is for people to sit around it and drink coffee, or something, but I don't know. It makes you feel as if you're living in Piccasso's Guernica.

So, anyone else: any sculptures or pieces of architecture you're fond of?


Caz said...

O - M - F - ing - G - Federation Square is even more hideous in photographs than in real life. I didn't think that was humanely possible.

Caz said...

BTW - you have to love the three skinny men on the corner of Swanston & Bourke Street, but you have to wonder about the twit who decided to put a rubbish bin right next to them. A few metres away was obviously just inconceivable, especially when 3 million people a day risk life & limb on the road to line up to take photo's of their friends with the skinny guys. Yeah, putting the rubbish bin exactly in the spot was a stroke of fucking genius.

I also rather like the large purse, currently located outside the old GPO, corner of Eliz & Bourke, in the Mall. It's clean & simple - by which I mean, it's not an abstract piece of crap; the audience has no difficulty identifying it for what it is; plus, someone really did do a beaut little job with some stone. All in all, nicely done.

TimT said...

Those three guys are pretty good. Apparently they're waiting for the tram? I think Newcastle has a couple of sculptures like that at one of their Hunter Street bus stops.

I think one of the worst efforts has to be that huge yellow-and-red monument near - what is it? - the Bolte bridge?
It's entire purpose seems to be to get noticed.

obtuse-a said...

fed square is a soulless, historically-bereft rip-off of Libeskind - appropriate for melbourne's highly selfconscious supposedly europeanness.

the best sculpture: the temple at the top of the Century building cnr Swanston St and Lt Collins st. best viewed from a higher vantage point.

TimT said...

fed square is a soulless, historically-bereft rip-off of Libeskind - appropriate for melbourne's highly selfconscious supposedly europeanness.

Why is it that certain communal buildings give the impression of being glorified public toilets?

I don't know why Melbourne should be a 'selfconscious' and 'supposedly' European city. It was built and is inhabited by European immigrants (I'm including the British in that). It is, in a very real sense, European. Though I agree Melbournians - like most supposedly 'sophisticated' Australians - do have a problem with identity from time to time.

obtuse-a said...

hmm, i meant selfconscious in the fact that most of the architecture is derivative from europe or the US. The youth of the Euro-settled city [in comparison to its ancient prototypes] does not really justify the sense of monumentalism that it seems to be aiming for.

Glorified public toilets - yeah! I'll wee to that!

TimT said...

That's true. I think Sydney's art/architecture is self-conscious in a different way, self-consciously chaotic and abstract-expressionist. (I prefer Melbourne.)

And in the northern states, they seem to have a thing for big pieces of plastic fruit ...

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