Elaine Forrestal

Stories in Light and Shade

We are Between Earth and Sea, by Masayuki Sugiyama for Sculptures By the Sea 2018

Every year Sculptures by the Sea comes to Cottesloe Beach. And every year the exhibition is full of stories.

After the immediate visual impact of each sculpture, whether it be surprise, delight, revulsion or disbelief, we are drawn to explore it. We examine its shape, its colours, the way it moves. In some cases we are given permission to touch the surface, to feel the texture and examine the way the light falls on it and the way it sits in relation to its temporary home by the sea. Inevitably we look for answers to our questions of how, what, when, where and why? Just as we do with the stories we read. Because the sculptures are so arresting visually they draw us in to their world, stimulate our imagination and spark off other stories for us. Ones which may, or may not, have anything to do with the artist’s printed story about materials, method and time spent in creating this particular work.

The best story I found from this year’s exhibition links back to last year when a 5 year old boy from Perth became so intrigued by a sculpture by Japanese artist Masayuki Sugiyama that he wrote a letter and posted it, via the organisers, to the artist’s home in Japan. The boy was fascinated by the shadows thrown onto the sand by Masayuki’s sculpture and wanted to know more about it. Masayuki Sugiyama replied, of course, and not just in words sent through the post. Inspired by the boy’s delight in his work he made a new sculpture and entered it in the 2018 exhibition. Elegantly constructed, with strong clean lines wrought in stainless steel, this new work is titled We are Between Sun and Earth. Viewed from different angles it could be an abstract cow, a crescent moon, a cycle helmet with a floating plume. Examining it at ground level, who would guess that once a day the shadows thrown by these two pieces of twisted steel would form two perfect circles on the sand?

I can’t wait for the next collection of stories created by remarkable artists from around the world.