The Vault aka The Yellow Peril

Small Sculptural Maquette
Small Sculptural Maquette

I chanced upon an artist talk on a cold wet saturday in Melbourne,  by sculptor Ron Robertson-Swann at Charles Nodrum Gallery in Richmond.

Ron Robertson-Swann
Ron Robertson-Swann

 

 

This unassuming, diminutive man produced the infamous large sculpture “The Vault ” or as it was famously labelled  ” The Yellow Peril”.

 

 

found objects
found objects

The piece was a winner of a competition staged by the Melbourne City Council who were looking for a distinctive signature piece for City Square. It won and was  installed in May 1980 , just prior to the then State Government sacking the Melbourne City Council.

The work , initially called ” The Thing ” by Roberston-Swann and “Steelhenge ” by the workers who made it , was critically labelled  ” The Yellow Peril ” by newspapers of the day . In September 1980 Robertson-Swann called the work  ” The Vault ” but to many the work has remained known as ” The Yellow Peril ”

Small Sculptural Maquette
Small Sculptural Maquette

In 1981, the Vault was re-erected at Batman Park, a less prominent part of the city. At the time Robertson-Swann was interviewed about its relocation which he described as it being placed in a wasteground of a holding yard for the railways. It remained there until 2002 when it was moved to a position outside the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Southbank.

In 2017, the sculpture was recommended for heritage protection, through inclusion in the City of Melbourne Planning Scheme Heritage Overlay, following a heritage study of the Southbank Area.

 

“The Vault” has been inspirational for some built and propositional architectural projects designed in Melbourne. Several of Denton Corker Marshall‘s works have “adopted peril’s yellow almost as a point of pride and solidarity” while its form has been manipulated in some works by ARM Architecture (Ashton Raggatt McDougall).

Maquette for the Vault
Maquette for the Vault

I took much away from the artists talk. It gave me an opportunity to view the works of his expansive practice  and realise that no one piece defines or contains a creative practice. Also that once a piece is sold the creator loses control of the piece and its new placement which can challenge the artists integrity . Also it may be preferable to give work a title to avoid the labelling of the work by an uncomplimentary tag.

 

Maquette for the Vault
Maquette for the Vault

A prolific worker, sculptor and Head of Sculpture at the National School of Art, Ron Robertson-Swann is thriving and living proof that artists just keep working.

TV Moore with Love and Squalor

TV Moore with Love & Squalor, is currently appearing at ACCA from 15th August to 27th September.

Confronted by the title emblazoned on the bright pink banner, out the front of ACCA, I was curious.

The man with the enigmatic name, is an Australian artist,  based in NYC, and is exhibiting his first solo show at ACCA. The title of his show derives from a JD Salinger work, of the same name. His work ranges from video, photography and painting to film, sculpture and installation.

Shrek like
Shrek like
work at acca
work at acca

His show features the fruits of two years’ worth of intense work including pieces ranging from a sound installation and video works to a series of jelly-bean coloured digital “finger paintings”, — complex, layered mashups of collage, painting, photography, scanning and other media. He references, the popular Disney film, Shrek, in the some of his work.

tv moore
tv moore
Film
Film
tv moore
tv moore

As he has said, “That’s what’s great about being an artist: we’re pigeons, we’re seagulls. We’re just scavengers of stuff.One room at ACCA, has been paved with dark blue, small tiles to house his one of his films.