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A student trifecta for Sculpture by the Sea

23 October 2015
Acoustic Chamber, Mirage and Half Gate are the must-see works at the 19th Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi.

Three teams of our students are exhibiting in the world's largest temporary sculpture park, Sculpture by the Sea, which takes place along the two-kilometre Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk.

Three sculptures created by students from the University’s Faculties of Architecture, Design and Planning, and Engineering and Information Technologies are among 107 artworks by artists from 19 countries on show until 8 November.

Final-year architecture students Matthew Asimakis, Clarence Lee and Caitlin Roseby are the creators of Half Gate, which offers a vision of partial enclosure. Their use of mirrors create an environment in flux; a place where the sky, sea and visitor converge, blurring into one another.

The trio’s work echoes the friction between art and architecture, examining structure, perception and materiality in site-specific ways. The work awarded the team one of three $10,000 Clitheroe Foundation Emerging Sculptor Mentorships.

Acoustic Chamber is the creation of Arissara Reed and Davin Nurimba, also recipients of a Clitheroe Foundation Mentorship. A Science and Architecture student, Reed has a keen interest in acoustic structures. Nurimba who studies Architecture, has 3D modelling expertise and is inspired by the interplay between art and technology. Their beautiful shell-like sculpture is a walk-in acoustic chamber that echoes its own environment, as well as the sound of the ocean.

Deirdre Mair and Harry Stitt, double degree students in Engineering and Architecture, have created Mirage. Their three-dimensional sculpture comes in and out of focus, assembling and disassembling, depending on the angle from which the work is viewed. The pair is skilled in metal, wood and digital fabrication, and spent several months in the University’s School of Civil Engineering designing and constructing their piece.

Tim Wilkinson, Associate Professor in Civil Engineering, who advised some of the students on their initial designs offers an insight to creating a Sculpture by the Sea masterpiece. “There is a lot more to designing a successful artwork for display on a coastline. Ensuring it is a safe structure for the public is critical. Kids will swing on it; people will sit on it; not to mention the weather elements of wind, heat and rain that it will endure.”

Wilkinson says that each individual sculpture that is passed along the breathtaking coastline - whether it be closely studied or merely given a split second glance - has been the subject of a major production that can take six to nine months.

“The conceptual design, which is the brilliant bit, may come in a flash. That single, abstract idea then propels a team or person through a mammoth undertaking, with complexities and scope they could never have imagined at first,” he said.

From initial concept, artists have to create a detailed design and solve problems associated with fabricating, assembling and transporting the sculpture, bearing in mind that it will be exposed to high winds and will be at the mercy of an over curious public.

“What students learn is invaluable: working in multidisciplinary teams, communicating ideas to a disparate range of collaborators, and negotiating function and form with tradespeople. They take responsibility for a major creation and see it through to completion, solving structural, logistical, financial and resource headaches, big and small, along the way,” said Wilkinson.

Sculpture by the Sea takes place until 8 November, 2015.

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