The latest public art at Central Park has been unveiled. Titled Sparkling Pond, Bold-Coloured Groove and Tender Fire, the work by acclaimed Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist is an intelligent, engaging and vivid combination of projected video and a wall of coloured glass.
Rist has created an engaging suite of floor projections and a vivid wall of coloured glass for the undercroft ‘stage’ beneath 5 Park Lane, one of the residential towers at Central Park. The artist has transformed the space from something with potential into a dazzling universe of colour, forms and meanings. Rist’s original artwork proposed in 2015 wanted to create “a visual and sensory experience that holds a place in the collective memory for people passing through the space and living around it”.
Gently animated video scenes are projected onto the floor of the undercroft space in three locations, appearing on the ground like “urban electronic bonfires”. The use of juicy hues in the coloured glass wall pays homage to the colours found in Sydney’s intense daylight and luscious vegetation. The “pond” of the title captures the sense of the watery world Rist creates by applying algorithms used to measure the action of waves. “Groove” suggests the unique capacity of a Rist work to let us delve into – and be transported to – an inner world.
Rist’s work has been at the forefront of video art as the medium has evolved over the last 30 years. As New York Times art critic Roberta Smith wrote at the time of the artist’s major retrospective at New York’s New Museum (2016–17), Rist has “rarely met a technological breakthrough that she couldn’t use”. Curator Barbara Flynn first saw works by Rist in Sydney and Berlin in 1998; their collaboration on a work for Central Park began in 2014.
Technical advances in the new work include incorporating camera work that merges shots close up with deep space more seamlessly than ever before; the creation of a gently upwards-curving and undulating contour for the projections by transposing right-angled images into the form of a sphere; and the creation of video loops that are much longer than those in museum shows.
Flynn says that from the moment Rist’s art emerged in the 1980s, it has been recognised as relevant, inspiring and important to people. She highlights Rist’s unique capacity to engage people: they feel drawn to her work, and her artwork at Central Park opens the door for people to experience uninhibited pleasure and joy.
“One of the many marvels of Rist’s work being at Central Park is how accessible it is to everybody. Not only does it have no rigid top or bottom, horizon line, left or right, or prescribed way in and out, it is free and open to all: like coming upon a refreshing pool,” she says.
Rist’s commission for Central Park is her first permanent outdoor video work. Mick Caddey, Central Park Project Director at Frasers Property Australia, says the intention of Frasers Property and Sekisui House was to humanise the urban environment and contribute positively to the Chippendale community through art.
“Residents have credited the permanent art commissions with fostering a greater sense of community,” he says.
The Central Park development presents the greatest concentration of privately commissioned artworks in the
local government area of Sydney. Commissions are by an extraordinarily distinguished group of artists
hailing from diverse locales across the globe, including Australia, France, Japan, Switzerland and the USA. $8 million has been contributed towards the public art program.
The artists, including Patrick Blanc, Yann Kersalé, Turpin + Crawford Studio, Tadashi Kawamata, Justine
Varga, Yhonnie Scarce and Ugo Rondinone (for completion in February 2019), alongside Rist, were selected
for their visual intelligence and capacity to create original, site-specific works that will remain relevant for
years to come. Each of the installations offers residents and passers-by an opportunity to pause their day-today
routines and contemplate their surroundings in new ways. Sparkling Pond, Bold-Coloured Groove & Tender Fire can be viewed from sunset to 11pm every night at
Park Lane, Central Park.