Sculpture by the Sea celebrates its 22nd annual edition this October and November with the Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach coastal walk transformed into a 2km long sculpture park featuring 100 sculptures by artists from Australia and across the world. Sculpture by the Sea is the world’s largest free to the public sculpture exhibition. Among the 100 works is a work by French artist Robin Godde, who we had a chat to in the lead up to Sculpture by the Sea.
Your work “Parenthèses” (French for quotation marks) is going to be installed at Sydney’s outdoor exhibition Sculpture by the Sea this October and November. What does this work represent?
This work exists first and foremost because it is inscribed in the landscape. We know quotation marks in oral and written language, as a digression in a conversation or typographic signs in text. They direct the world or the narrative in a frame to give information of which the nature appears different to us, an accessory or minor [in nature than the rest of the words]
The work “Parenthèses” attempts to conserve these notions by applying them to real spaces which surround us, for example: can we put a fragment of the landscape into quotes? Just as a film director reproduces the camera lens with his thumbs and index fingers to form a small frame in his line of sight, our two hands inwardly curved, follow the shape of the work – “Parenthèses” is 5.5metres high. The quotation marks evoke the notion of the echo of sound waves that are represented like circular arcs and that we sometimes try to capture with our hands around our ears.
What was your inspiration for it?
The symbol and context both play an important place in my works. The work “Parenthèses” is a follow on from many steps in my previous projects. I tried to put myself mentally in large spaces that I traversed (mountain and valley landscapes) by going from one mountain to another to visualise a precise site from a number of different points of view to encircle it, making it a sort of physical and visual grid of the area. In this way, my works always have an important link with spatiality and with that which surrounds my works.
Anchored in the earth, the quotation marks are a reference to the vertical/horizontal landmarks, which are only a projection of reality to our scale. There is therefore a single opening, on the upper end as relation to the thought, in the square which is formed by the quotation marks.
This work has already been exhibited in France at the Jardin Godron in October 2014. What are the challenges in exhibiting a work on opposite sides of the world? Do you reproduce the works or do you transport them?
Many musicians fascinate me with their talent in following the life of a single piece of work by attempting new interpretations or compositions from the same base. I try to do the same thing: I try to never reproduce but to always continue that which was already initiated and stopped, defined and concretised at a given moment of time. “Parenthèses” is the next logical step, and it involves some readjustments from the work shown in France.
The work completed on site for Sculpture by the Sea will take on a different dimension because of the differing size, composition and materials. The challenge is to work upstream as correctly as possible by projection and representation of the reality of the site as I have not been able to visit it before installation. It’s a very different kind of work to that which takes place in the studio. There is a real richness in exploring by working with teams at a distance that I don’t yet know but in whom I place a lot of trust and in whose skills I believe in, because a large part of the work is currently in their hands.
You can see Robin Godde’s “Parenthèses” along with many other artists’ works at Sculpture by the Sea along the coastline from Bondi to Tamarama Beach from 18 October to 4 November 2018.