In Arts + Entertainment

Sculpture By The Sea Returns To Cottesloe For 2018

The seaside festival is back and in fine form.

First established in 1997 by David Handley along the Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk, Sculpture by the Sea was a considered reaction to the apparent lack of publicly accessible art in Australia. Founded with the help of a group of volunteers and a bank account of no more than $850, the very first event saw 25,000 visitors negotiate the Bondi based exhibition.

The Sculpture by the Sea model was so successful that it was replicated on the opposite side of the country, on an equally picturesque stretch of coastline, in 2005. Thirteen years on, and Cottesloe’s rendition of the renowned art event has seen the works of some of the world’s most celebrated sculptors take up residence on the sand for the 18-day exhibition.

Zhan Wang’s Floating Rock Photo: Supplied

Following on from highly acclaimed installations like Norton Flavel’s giant ‘goon bag’ Bulk Carrier, Stormie Mills’ pink bunny and Lucy Humphrey’s glass orb Horizon, a four-meter-wide stainless steel floating rock by international artist Zhan Wang will take the title of this year’s showcase centrepiece. Exhibiting for the first time on West Australian shores, Wang’s work has been specially commissioned by Tourism WA for Sculpture by the Sea in 2018.

Living and working as an Associate Professor of Sculpture in Beijing, Wang’s career as a modern sculptor began in 1993 with his first solo exhibition ‘In a Twinkling’. Since, he has had his work showcased in New York, London and Venice; and is excited to finally be adding Australia to his ever-growing list of exhibition countries.

Lucy Humphrey’s Horizon from Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe 2017 Photo: Jessica Wyld

“I am very much looking forward to my first visit to Australia. I have long heard of a sculpture exhibition on the West Coast; these sculptures stand by the sea with a background of water, these works of art look like a fairyland play-thing. I am very grateful to the organisers for inviting me this year and for allowing me to realise a somewhat adventurous piece of work – a boulder floating in the sea,” says Wang.

In a first for Wang’s water based rock sculptures, ‘Floating Rock’ will be anchored to the sea floor and taking prime position on the famous Cottesloe shoreline. The sculpture will sit serenely on the ocean waters, glisten in the setting sun and be buffeted by waves when the wind is up.

Koichi Ishino Mountains Air Circles from Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe 2017 Photo: Jessica Wyld

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia, is confident in the visitor drawing power that Wang’s piece will have.

“Zhan Wang is one of the most internationally renowned sculptors and featuring his extraordinary work as part of Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe helps elevate the event’s reputation on a global scale,” says Papalia.

Bringing focus to the pristine West Australian coast line, the stainless-steel monolith is the latest in Wang’s series of works ‘Artificial Rocks’. Recreating naturally occurring rocks known to Chinese scholars for their positive and negative space, energy and dynamism, Wang beats and moulds stainless steel around the original stone to create a modern replica. Moving away from the more traditional jade, glass and ceramic often used to recreate the rocks, Wang extends the concept with mirrored surfaces reflective of our industrialised world.

Denise Pepper, Leaden Hearts from Sculptures by the Sea Cottelsoe 2017 Photo: Ben Reynolds

Wang’s work will this year be joined by more than 70 other Australian and international artists; 28 of them hailing from around Western Australia. The 2017 WA Sculptor scholarship recipient Denise Pepper will be returning this year, as well as other local favourites Tim Macfarlane Reid, Olga Cironis (2016 scholarship recipient) and fast rising stars Norton Flavel and April Pine.

After resounding success at Sculpture by the Sea in 2017 with her first submission to the event ‘Stirling: Pause’, 29-year old April Pine returns to Cottesloe in 2018 with her interpretation of a day at the dog beach. Made from white powder coated metals, the work features a dog walker and 14 playing dogs. The glorified Mt Lawley based sculptor Norton Flavel – known for his works ‘Bulk Carrier’ and ‘Lucky Country’ – will also be back for his 4th year in a row, unveiling a surprise work sure to capture the hearts of the local community.

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe, returns to Cottesloe Beach for 18 days from 2 – 19 March 2018.


Published 26 February, 2018