DETAIL: Fred FISHER 'Tilt' 2005, MDF synthetic polymer paint
 
 
Ewen COATES | Overground

 
COATES, Ewen
Australia 1965
Overground 2004
cast bronze, steel, electric lights
12 elements, each approx. 35.0 (h) x 24.0 (w) x 28.0 (d) cm
VIEW: Artist's Statement |

The work consists of twelve cast bronze life-size heads wearing balaclavas. Inside each head a small, internally lit diorama depicts a particular scene also cast in bronze. The busts stand on pillars and are configured in a six-metre circle facing inwards. The audience is encouraged to walk around the sculpture, viewing the miniature scenarios in each head, as well as through the middle, where they become the object of the sculpture’s gaze.

This shifting role between viewer and sculpture – on the one hand spectator/voyeur and on the other subject/victim – echoes the theme of the work itself and the ambiguous relationship each bust has to its internal scenario. It is unclear whether the scene depicted in each head is to be read as memory, projection, psychosis or even a kind of fanciful narrative about redemption.

It is this mixing of messages that may prompt the audience to question the subject of trauma and the degree to which it is effectively processed on a personal and political level. Hence the title Overground could be understood as a term for the state of one’s suffering (ground down, defeated, etc.), or it could be applied to the imagined platform or territory for which most battles are fought.

Image: Detail
Photography: Kenneth Pleban
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