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Five On The Floor - Where Sculpture Meets The Floor - No More "Afterthought Sculpture" Ple

Floor 1
Floor 2
Floor 3
Floor 4
Floor 5

Here are five sketches (ink and pencil on paper that can be seen on the "Drawing" page of this website). They are the continuing part of the series of works "Five On The Floor" that accompany the two maquettes in two earlier blogs below. These drawings are plan areas in which objects are placed at certain points to link the ground into the object. I will be posting some other sketches where floor, object and walls are all linked as one to create a complete sculptural/architectural environment. There will be other maquettes to follow.

One of the issues facing so many sculptors or artists making objects that sit in the public domain is that the art object is still viewed by architects and designers (and sadly artists) alike as an afterthought: something to be added after all the main construction is completed. What always occurs as a consequence of this sad state of affairs, is that the architect or designer leaves a spot they feel appropriate for a bit of decoration: that is, a sculpture, art object, light sculpture or wall mural. In other cases, the architect or designer does not even consider any form of sculpture, art object, light sculpture or wall mural at all.

The building gets built and the architect stands back and says, "oh look, that bit looks as though it could do with something to finish it off" and the designers all agree so as not to cause offence. They come up with the (very unoriginal) idea of holding a competition or (the other very unoriginal idea), of advertising in the artistic media for artists/sculptors to put forward proposals. This is dressed up in a way that looks as though the commissioners are doing the artists a huge favour. What a dreadful state of affairs this is with what appears to be no prospect of change in the near future. There is such a huge disconnect between architects, designers and artists these days, there is almost no opportunity for an artist to be brought in at the beginning of the building's (or open public area's), design process.

By this I mean that two percent of the building's overall budget be put aside for artworks (sculptures, three dimensional objects, murals, lighting and other forms of public art); and the chosen artist or artists concerned be included at the very beginning of the design process: not only for public buildings but also for public areas. In this way, the link between function, architectural beauty and artistic decoration will be inextricably linked; existing as one complete environment.

It's a curious thing that so many contemporary artists, designers and architects bang on about the wonders of the Bauhaus School, that very influential institution whose leading minds encouraged, indeed insisted that there be strong links between the various "Arts" with a capital "A": and yet, if you try to suggest or encourage the same form of liaison between the many artistic practitioners today, you are met with nothing but disdain, scorn and a general disrespect between them all. As a consequence, the scourge of what I call "Afterthought Sculpture" adorns just about every public building in every major city. This has been the case for too many years: it certainly has been so since I started making art some forty years ago.

Sadly this will not change and I know I am in danger of sounding naive in the extreme; after all, I should know better, I've been making art for such a long time, why should I hold any aspirations that any form of aesthetic revolution by a meeting of willing artistic minds could ever happen in these enlightened times of Post Conceptual thinking?

All around the city of Melbourne, buildings sprout up, one after the other with relentless bland monotony and in just about all cases, three months after the building is completed, a sculpture is dumped in the forecourt. There it stands, the "Afterthought Sculpture" with its sculptural aesthetic baring absolutely no relation to its surroundings. Occasionally, you might come across an art object that fills the interior of a space, but guaranteed, that object was placed there long after the building was completed.

My naiveté and belief that anything is possible upon this subject has lead to the drawings above, which are designed to house sculptural object/s and be a visual starting point or link to complete the over all artwork. Floor, object and environment become one, so to speak. More to come.

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