Art, nature, rocks and sculpture
Sculpture by the Sea
The world’s largest annual public outdoor art exhibition
29 Oct 5.38am – 8.20 am, 2012 extract
Pindar – “O my soul, do not aspire to immortal life, but exhaust the limits of the possible.”
Romantic love with a snapshot of my love focused, a Don Quixote meets Beato’s Flight into Eygpt. A dog and a horse are MAD, mutually assured depravity, since art has abandoned Pan, Odin, Apollo, Jesus, Ra, Baal, Bacchus, Surya and the thousands of others.
materiality gleaming a spinal spiral, pubescent gleam of soft vertebrae,
moved away from the edge to this rock shelter, sharing attention,
inside its shell the colour of sand crumbling in a breeze,
explicit structure subject to erosion.
This sculpture is brilliant, bold contrasts of colour, a lateral slice of moist luck, this art, fluctuation in attention, music to all the senses and even thought. This seismic smile as a mark of Cain, an intrusion of life, but then a common neurophysiological mechanism powers all visual representation from perception to dreaming or memory. Perception is dynamic shaped by what is inside and what is outside, attention biased by familiarity, desires and expectations. Art often plays these factors, though was special once. Palaeolithic cave art often tunnelled a long way into occult earth, open to a few individuals walking or crawling a long way. forty-five hundred generations back – shamanism was once the theory, now no-one is sure, the more we know . . .
A natural aesthetic democratises and frees.
On the headland is a the obelisk, not a memorial to shipwrecked sailors or war dead but a ventilation tower for the Bondi sewage treatment in the middle of a golf course with art hundreds of years possibly a thousand years old, outlined on exposed rock, sharks within an eight-metre shark, a large sunfish, fish and a boomerang
How much of this art will survive?
Much of the art has been destroyed or lost at a plaque commemorates that this site’s engravings were regrooved in 1964 in an effort to preserve them. The Local Aboriginal Land Council condemned it as an “act of desecration”.
Beauty is not prized in the art world any more (Pablo Picasso’s influential Les Demoiselles d’Avignon being one reason), yet it is often beauty that first strikes us and pushes us to give the vision more sustained attention. Beauty (and sensuality) is now emphasised in the film world and to a lesser extent the weird world of celebrities and fashion models. Our notion of feminine beauty changes, we are led by the nose. As the goddess of love, Venus personified female beauty; now it is film stars. Millions of Chinese women are having surgery to get the Western look of double eyelids, or using double sided tape to create the illusion. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa has no eyebrows or eye lashes; it was the fashion in Italy around 1500 to pluck. But think of Audrey Hepburn or Elizabeth Taylor, Brooke Shields or Margaux Hemingway, and how Peter Paul Rubens idealized female beauty as a full-figured Baroque woman.
I am surrounded by natural beauty on this walk and dolphins, not on the water but tattooed into fit young joggers – a beautiful young woman flows past, eyes on the path, trim and tanned with unblemished skin and long dark wavy hair, looking South American, a glance and a pang, a primary response wanting more, a physical reaction an art work can sometimes give. In a sonnet, Petrarch describes being entranced by a pure white doe. He stares at her, and keeps staring like Richard Wollheim or Jed Perl before a work by Poussin. Petrarch becomes tired, but is hypnotised and follows the animal noticing that on her collar is inscribed ‘Noli me tangere’. He suddenly finds himself soaked through; he has blindly walked into a river, eyes only on the doe which has just as suddenly vanished.
Christ doesn’t appear to Mary Magdalen on these cliffs, and it was a few ks south where the Virgin Mary appeared on a Coogee fence post near the memorial to victims of the Bali bombing, and the Titian with Christ wearing a gardener’s hat X ray eyes looking elsewhere.
You want to touch but each piece has a signs to limit how one behaves in the presence of art.