Sculpture by The Sea Patrons Lunch.

Friday, 1st November, 2019

Buon Riccordo Restaurant.


I am delighted to participate in today’s acknowledgement of patrons of Sculpture by The Sea, and I have written a short statement to commemorate the occasion.

More specifically, I am bringing a word.

That word is ‘Processual’.

It sounds like a made up word but it is in the dictionary.  It means ‘Relating to or involving the study of processes rather than discrete events.’

It was employed by my partner Jacqueline who is not here today.

As we were walking around Sculpture by The Sea she said of a particular sculpture, that’s ‘processual’.

I hate made up words and academic complication, but we looked it up and there it was.

What she was describing was a type of work, which was that work which was produced out of the act of making. Much work is made from ideas and is ‘executed’, where there is no scope for an ‘in process’ voice.

Much work is ‘fabricated’, where drawings or models are blown up.

The Sydney School of Sculpture, out of which Sculpture by The Sea was born, is committed to a ‘processual’ philosophy.

If one does not give oneself to the act of making, if you do not allow yourself to be subjected to the realm of possibilities that lie within that field of working the material, then you are dealing with trifles, entertainments, distractions.

If you cannot bear to dive in, you don’t get to swim and the only way to get to the other side, is to swim there.

There was a school of thinking, there were several schools who believed that that supposed ‘infinite’ well was dry and that all that swimming yielded predictable results.

Only ‘ideas’ would set us free, they said. Only ‘taking responsibility’ would take us anywhere new, anywhere surprising.

Swimming had become ‘processual’ soup.

In the context of an acknowledgement to patrons of Sculpture by The Sea, I shall keep my speculations brief.

What Jacqueline had identified was a trend where ‘processual’ can become prosaic.

When you are going through the motions of a perfect swimming style, that style can lead to only a ‘representation’ of a perfect world.

It’s kind of stating the obvious, I know, but we should stay alert.

I would ask you, when you have a moment to tick off in the catalogue, which of the works are ‘processual’.

Is it good or bad that they are? Perhaps it is neither.

Thank you.