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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

A New Large-Scale Public Artwork Is About to Hit a Secret Location in Sydney

And you can watch it all come to life this week.
By Emma Jukić
December 03, 2018
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A New Large-Scale Public Artwork Is About to Hit a Secret Location in Sydney

And you can watch it all come to life this week.
By Emma Jukić
December 03, 2018
  shares

in partnership with

Save the date — this week, Sydney welcomes Melbourne-based artist Ash Keating for a live install of Gravity System Response, his first public project in Sydney.

Keating has shown around Australia and internationally, including at the National Gallery of Victoria and in Tokyo, Seoul and Jogyakarta, but it's a rare chance to see him in action. Especially to watch his unique process of using the high-pressure force of fire extinguishers to spray paint metres into the air.

Part outdoor mural, part performance art, Gravity System Response draws on Keating's background in graffiti, video, conceptual work and performance art to create "camouflage paintings" in response to the colours and energy of the space around them.

The name of the work is a reference to the gravity effect of working with paint so high up. Keating plays with gradient and drips, making decisions on the fly as he lets the work "build itself". "The wall I'll be working with is this really thick, rocky aggregate, so it will be interesting to see how the paint responds to that surface," the artist said. "It will also be interesting working with the pressure of the fire extinguishers, capturing that explosive energy up against the wall."

"Things happen quite organically and intuitively. I don't plan my work in advance; I like to do that in person as I'm working. It becomes about endurance, too."

We asked Keating how he found his way into his current way of making work:

"It started when I found a stack of abandoned fire extinguishers in an old warehouse in Melbourne," the artist said. "At the time I was doing a lot of works on walls I'd find on the city fringe. I wanted to find a way to create really big murals, abstractions, without getting tagged over."

"Using fire extinguishers meant I could play with large, expressive, gestural mark-making on a whole new scale — in public places with these great vantage points, where I could connect with an audience the very next day."

As well as an exploration of energy, abstraction, gravity and colour, Gravity System Response is a celebration of the place of art and public space in cities; it aims to support a vibrant, open city full of art, music and culture. The work is set to be a timely piece as Sydney debates how (and when and how late) we use public spaces and the role that art has to play in the life of a city.

Keen to see it all come to life? It's been revealed it'll happen at The Domain, but keep an eye on the Facebook event to find out more details about the live-action artmaking taking place December 5–6 from 11am–2pm.

This new work is presented by the City of Sydney's Art & About program and curated by Billie and Elliott Routledge of Funstudio, a Sydney-based arts agency that specialises in public art projects, brand collaborations and contemporary designs.

Published on December 03, 2018 by Emma Jukić

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