Friday, 6 May 2005

Statuary Friday #7

Ok, here's my project: or perhaps it's a meme: though I doubt anything qualifies as a meme if only one person is onto it. Well, anyway, every Friday I do a different piece of sculpture selected from the vast numbers littered around lovely Melbourne. My only criteria are: it must be outdoors, it must be more or less permanent, and it must be in a publically accessible location. (Suggestions, especially for sculpture in the 'burbs, are very welcome.)

#7 The Public Purse

Bourke St Mall (corner Bourke & Elizabeth Sts), City

The Public Purse is made of highly polished red granite and stainless steel, and it's the work of Simon Perry. It was installed at its present site in 1994.

If anyone did a study into which of our open-air art things Melburnians like best, I reckon this would be in the top five: the City of Melbourne never spent a better thirty thousand dollars.

I normally have reservations about public art which pulls blips on the cutesy radar, but in this case the thing is also genuinely witty and clever, and beautifully made, and works superbly in its environment.

Perfectly judged for the mood of the place: a shrewd and canny way to spend public money, but attractively self-deprecating with it: part Surrealist, part groanworthy pun. What's your take?


Brownie said...

spot on. the time I saw it last, several people were sitting on it - I loved that.

brownie said...

your photos are great btw.

this is an english lady's blog you might enjoy - she takes pix of statuary too

Ampersand Duck said...

Tightly-shut clam with the pearls on the outside. Some kind of comment about female sexuality? Just grasping for alternate meanings. I'm going to have to share with you the odd sheep sculpture in Canberra's city centre and see what you make of that.

Lucy Tartan said...

I like that people sit on it, too. I waited around a bit for someone to do that but no dice. I reckon if you're ever making public art it's a good idea to make it touchable or sit-on able because that guarantees the thing will be kept clean and shiny.

And this purse thing totally summons up female sexuality echoes and images. In a way that's bound up with shopping and clothes and conspicuous consumption, too: very sex in the city. I wonder how much of that the sculptor intended. My guess would be all of it and more. I don't think a person can spend much time and care on making something and not be at least aware of what it is capable of saying.

Lucy Tartan said...

Brownie, thanks for the blog tip: I finally had a chance to have a look today and I'm very glad I did, it's terrific stuff.

Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying your sculpture photos, especially as I'm in Sydney, where I don't get the sense that we have as many modern public sculptures, though maybe I should open my eyes to them. Susoz

Rob Manderson said...

The first time my wife saw Public Purse she happened to be approaching at an angle that hid the clasp part of the purse. She says the first thing that popped into her head was 'why is there a pair of stone testicles lying on the footpath'. lol

purse said...

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