Denman Prospect developer Terry Snow saw the striking steel sculpture that won the $60,000 major prize at last year’s Sculpture by the Sea and decided he would commission one like it “but bigger” to mark one of the entrances to the new Molonglo suburb.
The resulting work’s German sculptor, Jorg Plickat, was in Canberra last week to oversee the installation and unveiling of the 4.5m “Sphere” in the new suburb.
Mr Plickat works predominantly with natural stone, bronze and corten steel, and currently divides his time primarily between China and Spain. In 2017, he will conduct workshops in Italy, in the white marble caves at Carrara, Tuscany.
“[Attendees] will all make a piece from this authentic marble of Michelangelo,” he said.
The artist has participated in more than 350 exhibitions worldwide and created and installed more than 85 public sculptures across four continents.
He said “Sphere” consisted of five parts, representing five continents or trade routes of the earth.
“Here it’s the capital of Australia, here political connections are made with the world, so I think that’s the right place to put this sculpture,” Mr Plickat said.
“Of course every nation must have its own national interest, but with problems like pollution, like global warming, politicians must work together, to solve the problems to leave a good continent for the generations after them.”
Constructed from corten steel, the work weighs three and a half tonnes, and is in the same style as his award-winning entry in last year’s Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi in Sydney.
That work, “divided planet”, was “a statement of lament at the wasted energy of political leaders who fail to overcome their differences, rather than uniting to address urgent human and environmental catastrophes such as poverty and global warming”.
Mr Snow, chief executive of Capital Estate Developments and Canberra Airport chairman, said it was in his company’s DNA to want to do something special at Denman Prospect.
“We wanted to put our touch on it, and that was to enhance the landscaping, improve the quality and size of the plantings, and have more interesting plants and vegetation in the subdivision,” he said.
“It’s important that we develop this arts program for the subdivision, we’ve identified six artists, and it’s quite fitting that Jorg is here today, because Jorg is of international standing, he won the Sculpture by the Sea for a piece not dissimilar to this, but a lot smaller, and Jorg is represented at significant places like Bawley Point NSW [and] all through Europe.
“When I saw the Sculpture by the Sea, I said, ‘Well this is something we should bring here but bigger’, and this is what we got, without any fuss at all, with very quick turnaround … [it’d] be a good lesson for the Australia construction industry that in about two weeks we had a design and a price and we were all ready to go.”
Mr Snow said there were six sculptures still to come for Denman Prospect, from a mixture of local, interstate and international artists.