The mysterious $300,000 sculpture arrives on an iconic Melbourne highway

Victoria’s Peninsula Link will house a new $300,000 sculpture, with Australian artist Natasha Johns-Messenger unveiled as the latest recipient of the Southern Way McClelland Sculpture Commission.

Since 2013, the commission has seen large-scale works installed along two sites on the Peninsula Link Highway near Mornington. Specific details of his project, titled Compass 23are secret, but Johns-Messenger said age how she is always inspired by the place where her works will be installed.

Australian artist Natasha-Johns Messenger in her studio.Credit:Justin McManus

“I was thinking about how we once had navigational forces like the stars,” the artist said. “Now we have our phones…I think people are so reliant on virtual that we don’t really know which way north is half the time.”

As its title shows, Compass 23 is concerned with direction and the works will reflect its location by the Cranbourne Road off-ramp with curved shapes echoing the freeway itself.

“I’m not supposed to reveal exactly what it is, but to give you a taste, it’s a subtle line-art intervention in space, using the sky as a bulky form,” he said. she declared.

Johns-Messenger’s works have been exhibited internationally, including at Escher in Het Paleis in the Netherlands, the Australian Center for Contemporary Art and La Biennale di Venezia. It is his largest single structure to date, and its location brought its own challenges. “You have to think about the audience rushing into space, essentially, rather than into a gallery where they can contemplate and look in a very different way.”

2015 Southern Way McClelland Sculpture Commission, <i>Reflective Lullaby</i> by Gregor Kregar.” loading=”lazy”  data-src=”$zoom_0.101%2C$multiply_0.7487%2C$ratio_0.666667%2C$width_378%2C$x_0% 2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/dac0e8ffe4cdbb6bc16cbdaf4b053d09b4f81bb8″ height=”425″ width=”283″  data-srcset=”$zoom_0.101%2C$multiply_0.7487%2C$ ratio_0.666667%2C$width_378%2C$x_0%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/dac0e8ffe4cdbb6bc16cbdaf4b053d09b4f81bb8,$zoom_0.101%2C$multiply_1.4974%2C$ .666667%2C$width_378%2C$x_0%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/dac0e8ffe4cdbb6bc16cbdaf4b053d09b4f81bb8 2x”/></picture></div><figcaption class=

2015 Southern Way McClelland Sculpture Commission, reflective lullaby by Gregor Kregar.Credit:Marc Ashkanasy

Safety is also the number one consideration. “That’s why it took a long time to develop something that was very simple, but still had the same weight of ideas,” she explains. “Normally I use mirrors in my work to talk and expand the space – with this you can’t easily use mirror surfaces and reflective surfaces on the highway because it’s too confusing for the viewers. ” For Johns-Messenger, however, the limitations are an opportunity. “They send you back to the drawing board as an artist, and you have to think harder and create through the problem.”

Compass 23 will replace Flower Lover by John Meade with Emily Karanikolopolous. After four years along the highway, the sculptures are moved to McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery. This means that audiences will have the opportunity to engage with the works in an entirely different way – something Johns-Messenger kept in mind when developing their design. “Sections of it face north, south, east, west and into the sculpture park [the work] will also face the north direction at the same angle.

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