Mindarie Sculpture Festival

Phi II

Phi II on the way

After months and months in the planning and making Phi II was this morning delivered to Mindarie Marina for the Mindarie Boardwalk Sculpture Festival & Awards 2008.

No chips, no dingles, no damage. Amazing. It’s not that fragile, of course, being concrete and stainless steel but after a snail pace drive (at less than 60kms per hour) all the way from Chittering to Mindarie… cos I was worried that the rough roads and the ancient hired trailer MIGHT do damage. That’s over two hours folks. Not a nick to be seen. Oh ye of little faith.

Phi II at Mindarie

Phi II at Mindarie

Phi II holds blood (scratches making the frame for the moulds), sweat and tears in addition to the more visible materials. Oh, and it froze my fingers working oxide into the wet concrete sometime after midnight on a series of really cold nights… I couldn’t start until I got home each night and it took that long to get the concrete to just the perfect state to work. Yes, with my fingers. OK. I’m fussy.

So what’s the story with it. As Phi II – it’s obviously a next step on from Phi (which brought home the City of Melville prize last year). Hang on, why repeat myself, here’s the official version:

Phi II belongs to a series exploring the golden ratio in three dimensional geometric forms. Sometimes called the divine proportion, and denoted by the Greek letter phi, this ratio is a natural phenomenon which has fascinated scientists, mathematicians and artists since it’s discovery over 2400 years ago.

The outer shape of this work is an icosahedron which is a regular polyhedron with twenty faces each an equilateral triangle. On Phi II these faces are implied by the lacing of stainless steel rope. The golden proportion is found in the more solid rectangles on the inside, crossing at right angles through the centre.

Tension, rhythm and balance are sought between the airiness of the implied space and the rough surface of the concrete and the repetition of line and plane. Phi II is not all serious, watched carefully there’s a fascinating play of shadow traced by the pattern of light.

My interest always in finding something more than the obvious while exploring something that might have been made with a purpose in a time and place unknown. This gives us the most teasing question, simply “What is it?”. That can only be answered by our imagination.

“Without mathematics there is no art.”
Luca Pacioli (1445–1514 or 1517)
Italian mathematician, Franciscan friar and mathematics tutor to Leonardo da Vinci

If you want to go see, you’re going to have to be super quick – the exhibition is this weekend only – with winners announced at 5pm on Sunday May 4.


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