A selection of key sculptural works from the RMIT University Art Collection, displayed in their gallery, showcased important pieces from the past 50 years and beyond.
TEXT ON SCREEN: Revelations: Sculpture from the RMIT Collection. RMIT Gallery 23 May - 12 July 2014. Simon Perry on his work. RMIT logo.
VISUAL: Art installations around the outside of Etihad Stadium in Melbourne’s Docklands feature, followed by images of artist Simon Perry walking on the rooftop of a city building inspecting his work. Captions read: “Simon Perry, ‘Threaded Field’ 1999, Etihad Stadium”; “Simon Perry, The Pattern Table 2013, Emily McPherson Building RMIT.”; and “Simon Perry, Public Purse 1994, Bourke St Mall.”
SIMON SPEAKS: I’m Simon Perry, I’m an artist, I’ve done a number of projects in Melbourne, most recently, I’ve completed a commission for the Emily McPherson building named The Pattern Table. I’m known for a particular project named the Public Purse.
VISUAL: Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne. The Public Purse is a red-granite sculpture of a purse, resting on the Bourke Street Mall it doubles as public seating. Tourists mill about the sculpture talking.
FEMALE TOURIST SPEAKS: I think it’s something to put your money inside, it’s kind of modern art, I don’t know, I’m not really sure.
SIMON PERRY SPEAKS: I mean even with the purse, you know, people go, it’s a woman’s purse from the fifties, you know, it’s a sign of a purse, it’s an old kind of purse.
VISUAL: Tourists sit on the the public purse sculpture and take photos of each other.
MALE TOURIST SPEAKS: Do you know what brand of purse this is?
FEMALE TOURIST SPEAKS: Where did they put the logo?
SIMON PERRY SPEAKS: When I was developing the work, my mother was visiting, and I’d planned, I’d made some with some cushions in St Kilda, which were carved outside a gallery there. I wanted an equivalent, if you like, a soft thing, that would talk about support, or sitting, you know something that felt like you had a particular tactile relationship with it. And then when you actually encountered it, you realised it was the opposite. And so she had a purse like it and there was just this moment, you know, I’ve always loved those purses, I’ve never actually had one myself, I should let you know, it’s purse envy, there something very beautiful. I do think in fact, having done it and thought about it, that probably, they do maybe derive from a shell, or shells, and that shells were used to contain things.
VISUAL: Yet another tourist is interviewed on the Bourke Street Mall next to the sculpture.
TOURIST: Lots of tourists sit on it and take photos. I know a lot of people call it the clam shell, they don’t realise that it’s a purse, so yeah.
VISUAL: Melbourne City Square, Swanston Street. People stand around taking pictures of the John Mockridge Fountain.
SIMON PERRY VOICEOVER: It had a long history, the fountain, it was a bequest left, to actually commission the fountain, left by the estate of John Mockridge, who was an architect. I think it’s about a direct relationship you have with that surface and with the water, so many fountains, are, traditional fountains are bowls, they are containers of water. The effect of water over that corrugated water over that surface is that it traps bubbles under the surface so it has this continuous sense of movement, so that from a distance you read it and think what is that. You know, it does have this magical quality of water shimmering and then disappearing. And the fact that you can have contact, there’s something really special about that.
VISUAL: People mill about the fountain, touching the surface and posing for photographs.
AUDIO: Soft, slow jazz music plays.
SIMON PERRY SPEAKS: As much as you can say that those commissioned works wereauthorised, you know, there’s an aspect to them, where they take on their own life, and certainly in those examples, people embrace that.
VISUAL: Tourists sit on the public purse sculpture on Bourke Street Mall.
TEXT ON SCREEN: RMIT University logo, www.rmit.edu.au
[END OF TRANSCRIPT].
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