Docklands Sculpture

'Continuum'  It’s a slow climb. We can, after all, afford to aspire, in the effort and strain there is ease and humanity, life and pleasure.

Reaching up is not inevitably flawed. We lift each other. We stride ahead and fall behind, and all of it is all of everything we are.

We can, in the quest, conceive a level playing field and know the height is more mirage. With the view we see the world is flat.

The figures are mostly separately identified. From nearby and underneath, we see the features; the rise and fall of flesh and muscle strain. Hair and face and brushing past and brushed aside.

From further off, the figures give way to community. The scrum, the huddle, succumb to rhythm's brace. As we walk past or drive, the shapes move past each other and interact again. Seeing through the figures is a flicker of sky, trees and edifice.

The column, the 'Climb', is what we are and what we do and what we look through too. It is, as much as what it undermines. Its strength is pushed and teased; is opened till the engineers are short of breath.

That was written at conception stage. On reflection, I was as short of breath as the engineers would later become. For me however, it is an inevitable part of the process of stimulation, motivation and inspiration.

The life of a sculpture goes through a number of changes on the way to execution. Initially it resides in the mind of the maker. What if and what if are hopeless goals; a world of barriers lie ahead and final execution is an eternity away.

I have made large sculptures before, but this sculpture was beyond my scope to undertake in the studio. My task was to somehow make my loss of complete control work for the sculpture. Prior to completion, I am confident that the spirit of the work has been maintained and amplified.

The life of any sculpture is fraught. From conception to execution presents a challenge. Anticipating the happy relationship between the site and the finished sculpture is something again. Is the colour right? Will it work in terms of scale and context? Despite my knowledge and experience of these issues one can never predict the nuances of a site. One goes by intuition and knowledge and also good fortune. Even an atheist has to trust the gods are with him.

These cut-out sculptures of mine work well with a clear uninterrupted backdrop. They also work when they are back-dropped by other cut-outs. This produces a meshing and density; the eye is invited to work, to disentangle to find the image, the figure.

In the case of 'Configuration', we find a blend of the two effects. The meshing however, can be parted, by walking between the two halves. Like a puzzle from the newspaper, we compare them. How do they vary and what effect does that variance have?

In my first thoughts for this work I sought a context in which the figures would intereact. They would not be unified by race, age or issue. They were not overtly fighting or loving. They were not bound by ideology or religion. To what purpose might the figures find themselves together?

I have sought to create a sense of happy emptiness; of calm and even silence; of an ease of being together without condition or expectation. These qualities have lent the figures the shapes they make. While this was my intention, time will disclose the extent of my vanity. At any rate, this was my thinking.

I hope that Melbourne and The Docklands in particular enjoy the work as much as I found pleasure in making it, or at least realizing it.

Michael Snape