2008 Bondi Exhibition Catalogue Essay: Walsh Bay Sculpture Walk

Posted: October 16, 2008 / Bondi Exhibition Catalogue Essays, Essays

‘Black Totem ll’ by Brett Whiteley

By Stephen Bradley

Curator, The Transfield Art Collection.

In 1985 the historic Piers and Shore Buildings at Walsh Bay were saved from demolition by the Premier and Minister for the Arts, Neville Wran. He reserved Pier 4/5 for the arts and particularly the Sydney Theatre Company.

Over the following twenty years Piers 4/5 and 2/3, together with the Shore Sheds, have become home to several arts organisations and have hosted the Biennale of Sydney and The Sydney Writers’ Festival.

In 2004 Bob Carr, Premier and Minister for the Arts, presided over completion of the $650 million Walsh Bay Redevelopment Project, which was undertaken by Transfield and Mirvac.

During the same year Transfield Holdings installed Brett Whiteley’s Black Totem ll next to its Windmill Street offices. Black Totem II was completed posthumously by Brett’s wife Wendy, Matthew Dillon and Transfield’s founding chairman, Franco Belgiorno-Nettis AC. Often referred to as ‘The Egg’, its towering form provides a landmark for visitors to the beginning of Kent Street.

The erection of Black Totem II sowed the seed for an outdoor art exhibition and in 2008 Transfi eld launched the Walsh Bay Sculpture Walk. ‘The Walk’ is a permanent public display consisting of works from The Transfi eld Art Collection and loans from artists and private patrons.

Jimmie Durham with ‘Still Life With Stone and Car’, Biennale of Sydney, 2004

The Walsh Bay Sculpture Walk also features Still Life With Stone and Car by American artist Jimmie Durham; a work which has also quickly established itself as a local landmark. Conceived as a piece of kinetic performance, the initial crushing of ‘The Car’ was staged on the Sydney Opera House forecourt as part of the 2004 Biennale of Sydney. Still Life With Stone and Car now sits on the Pottinger Street roundabout drawing attention from bemused tourists and distracted motorists. It is identified by two sublimely subliminal road sign representations by Richard Tipping.

The Three Sisters triptych by Gordon Andrews, designer of Australia’s first decimal currency banknotes, stands henge-like in Pottinger Park. Significant steel sculptures by Michael Snape and Diego Latella are displayed at other locations around the Walsh Bay Precinct.

The works installed this year complete the first phase of the Walsh Bay Sculpture Walk.

‘Still Life With Stone and Car’ at Walsh Bay


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