For Andrew Rogers, sculpting is a uniquely human function, melding our intelligence and imagination. ‘It is expressing an idea, the spirit of humanity, our essence and energy, and feelings and vision,’ he tells. Over a 37-year journey, this is certainly a practice he’s taken to the next level.
Always making things as a child, in secondary college, Andrew had the tuition of eminent Australian artist John Brack, who not only taught him to paint, but to ‘see clearly’. Although Andrew went on to study commerce/economics and was drawn into the world of business and international travel, Andrew began creating art as a personal project. Initially, he focussed on painting, before one day he had the chance to handle casts and small sculptures in the basement of the Musée Rodin, Paris – a life-changing moment!
Andrew has since gone on to become one of Australia’s most prolific modern-day sculptors. Installing 15 Sculptures in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Gateway to the United Nations in New York has been a career highlight. He is also responsible for Rhythms of Life a phenomenal series of 51 stone structures, visible from space (you can take a Google Earth Tour or see the Australian work, Bunji at You Yangs Regional Park). Spanning 16 countries across seven continents, it has involved more than 7,500 people over 16 years. Inspired by the Nazca Lines in Peru, Andrew set out to make ‘a connected set of drawings on Earth’ referencing globalisation, sculpture philosophies, and superstitions surrounding the lifeline in the crease of our palms.
Other large-scale public works have explored the human potential for inhuman behaviour (Pillars of Witness holocaust memorial), recognised cultural heritage (including a Machu Picchu installation, for which he was granted honorary citizenship and reincarnation as an Inca), as well as tested materials, design and construction against the increasingly-wild elements (I Am-Energy for the 2017 Expo Future Energy in Kazakstan, where temperatures range from -35C to 45C).
‘Sculptures become part of culture and part of the society in which they exist. As a sculptor, you have great opportunity and responsibility to participate in the formation of a culture, and creation of the excitement and differentiation that make space interesting. At the same time, you are able to express something that is personal and unique,’ explains the 72-year-old artist. ‘For me, the challenge is to make materials say what you want. To use them in new and different ways to convey meaning and to portray form in a manner that has not previously been seen.’
This month in Melbourne, the artist is presenting Kairos at Scott Livesey Galleries in Armadale, Melbourne. Sharing its title with the Greek word for ‘the right, critical, or opportune moment for action’, this exhibition is ‘about the diversity of sculpture and the challenge of creating new forms’. It brings together a diverse array of work, created from 2003 to 2019 in Melbourne and the US. Predominantly featuring stainless steel sculptures, there are also select pieces in bronze and others employing polychrome, polyamide, and enamel – Andrew enjoys the challenge of unruly materials and to incorporate new technologies.
‘It is special to capture the world’s vibrancy and beauty, to perceive an idea and bring it into being with one’s hands. I still get excited with this process which, distilled down, is about manipulating space with the forms that occupy it,’ adds Andrew. ‘My forms are metaphors about life; they explore our state of reality – motion and time. Fleeting moments; a passing instant,’ You’ve got 10 more days to see Kairos, so don’t miss this incredible opportunity.
Kairos by Andrew Rogers
May 1st to 25th
909A High Street
Find out more about Andrew’s projects on his website, or through the array of brilliant books and documentaries listed here