Saturday, 11 October 2008

Still Life with Stone and Car

This afternoon I went to a performance of a remarkable Sydney Theatre Company production of The Women of Troy at the Wharf Theatre. Just down Hickson Rd, at the corner of Pottinger St is this sculpture by Jimmie Durham, called Still Life With Stone and Car.

It was created at the forecourt of the Opera House for the 2004 Sydney Biennale, when he dropped the stone onto the car using a crane, and then it was moved to this roundabout in Walsh Bay for an outdoor sculpture display.
The artist, Jimmie Durham, a Cherokee from Arkansas, said of this work:
"Like most of my recent work, this piece is concerned with monuments and monumentality, but also with 'nature'; that implacable hard stuff. In the first instance I am using the stone as a tool; to change the shape of an object. But I also, as usual, want to make stone more light, more moveable, even if it is in a fairly horrible way - like a road accident.. I do not think the piece is humorous; even though it turns out to be. The kind of face painted on the real version will, of course, depend upon the shape of the stone, but it will in any case be placid, and neither 'realistic' nor cartoon-like. To my way of thinking if the stone is simply a stone without a face it becomes a gesture but with the face painted on it, the work develops a strange narrative. "
Read more about the artist and the creation of the piece here.
What do you think of the setting? I think placing it in the centre of a roundabout along a fairly busy, but not too busy, route in an Arts precinct is terrific. It is very accessible and highly visible.
PS - 28 Oct: I have been told that there is a sign nearby (which I missed) telling people that this is an art work, not an actual accident!


  1. Dear Sally,
    I love photos and consequently, your blog, although its my first time on here and I'm glad I found it! Do you love books and how does this compare to photography for you? Hope you will find me through this trail.
    My respects and compliments and I would like to return here as one of your regular reader.

  2. This is very unique. It reminds me of something I saw in front of the Chicago Modern Art Museum a few years ago. He is an interesting artist.

  3. Dear Sally, I love art, but sometimes I wonder... This is a curious piece. On a roundabout strikes me as being placed in a strategic spot to make a statement (I guess??).

  4. Could this be the ultimate boulder holder!

  5. I remember seeing this art work. Fun and stimulating, although I'm not sure it qualifies as art for me.

    I'm not too keen on the face painted on the side of the rock either.

  6. Love this but if I were driving round a roundabout and saw it, I'd probably crash cos I'd be so intrigued.

  7. This is certainly something you don't see every day!

  8. I guess thats why kids shouldn't chuck rocks, especially really BIG kids....