Under the Surface was opened to the public in January 2018. Commissioned by The City of Darwin, the work consists of an entrance sculpture and artwork for the 70 linear meter façade for the new Parap Pool. The project involved close collaboration with architects Liquid Blu and in particular Daniel Hahn.
The project budget of $200,000 ex GST included a rigorous selection and design process through the initial Selection Panel, the Art Advisory Committee and relevant stakeholders within Darwin Council.
The openness and flexibility of all the stakeholders involved in the project enabled the art process to unfold in its own time, resulting in a highly evolved and complementary aesthetic of art with architecture. A similarly notable aspect of the project included the ongoing support and interaction with the Arts and Culture Officers, the head of City Life, Arafura Fabrication, and other sub contractors.
Materials consisted of aluminium sub frame, digital art glass, mirror-coated Dibond and power-coated aluminium using the Pic Perf process.
Site and Background
Parap Pool sits on the historic Ross Smith Avenue, the site of the original airport. The architecture responds to the old Qantas hangar located nearby. The artwork was developed from photographs and videos taken in the final days before the old pool closed. In addition the artwork was a response to the new architectural plans with the zigzag effect of the façade entering into the design of the entrance sculpture.
Primarily based on the movement of a Rayleigh or ocean wave, the entrance sculpture and the façade are aesthetically and conceptually linked.
Decisions about the registration of the images for the façade (Pic Perf) were based on featuring the expressive nature of the body’s interaction with water as against a more literal rendering of the body itself.
Under the surface explores the interaction of human bodies with water through the effects created by the interplay of light and movement.
Splashes, distortions, reflections and traceries of light experienced within the pool environment become the main subject matter. Through swimming and diving these elements are featured in the facade images and on the front surfaces of the entrance sculpture.
The combined effect of both sculpture and façade is in its changing appearance. Though solid, these forms are not static. As the viewer walks around the sculpture and the length of the building, the composition and shapes of sculpture and building are distorted and extended in the same way as one experiences a pool environment.
The artwork on the facade unites the front of the building through the use of the black line (seen at the bottom of a pool when swimming) and through alternating reflective materials and expressive approach.
Metaphorically, for the artist, the complete work references the illusory and impermanent nature of things.