Public art in Perth is entering a new and exciting phase of growth and activity. The City of Perth recently adopted a Public Art Strategy, and a large number of new public artworks are being delivered in new developments across the City.
Public Art Strategy
The City of Perth Public Art Strategy outlines the City's approach to public art in the lead up to Perth's bicentenary in 2029.
This strategy aims to inform the development of public art for the City of Perth, to ensure it "is recognised internationally as a city on the move and for its liveability, talented poeple, and centres of excellence and business opportunities."
The City of Perth seeks to provide works of public art that deliver memorable experiences and draw visitors and tourists into the city.
Public art is also a key amenity for the people who choose to live and work in the city.
Ephemeral & Temporary Public Art
TRANSART is a public art initiative of the City of Perth that has been running since 2009. The program invites artists to develop temporary works for the City’s public spaces, seeking creative interventions that encourage exploration and engagement with art and the urban environment. TRANSART is intended to be one of the flagship projects in a new chapter in temporary and ephemeral public art commissioned by the City of Perth.
Each TRANSART project, for the duration of up to one month, aims to integrate temporary, ephemeral, interventionist, performative or audio artwork into the urban fabric of the everyday, engaging with an extremely broad and constantly shifting audience for maximum impact.
The TRANSART program has commissioned a broad range of Western Australian artists who have delivered innovative and exciting works providing different kinds of encounters with public art in the city.
CALLING FOR PROPOSALS: TRANSART 2016
The City of Perth is currently calling for proposals from professional Western Australian artists for temporary or ephemeral public artworks for TRANSART 2016.
The City is seeking to award at least two commissions, each valued at up to $25,000. Please see the Transart 2016 Project Brief for further information.
TRANSART: TRANSITION 2016
by Matt Aitken and Mei Swan Lim
Commissioned by the City of Perth for TRANSART: TRANSITION 2016, Swamp Clubb is an immersive, multi-sensory walking tour by artists Matt Aitken and Mei Swan Lim.
Whilst people celebrate the sinking of the railway line and “re-connecting” of the Perth CBD with Northbridge,Swamp Clubb facilitates people reconnecting with this familiar urban landscape through enquiring into its ecological, socio-cultural and spiritual past.
This project took place throughout May 2016 and comprised of three components:
Breakfast Clubb – as a starting point for the tours, where people gathered and completed a light survey (titled Perthonal Refelctions) before being provided with a light breakfast.
Lake Kingsford Eco Ghost Tours – a series of four tours, leaving from the Urban Orchard and moving along a path following the edges of the former site of Lake Kingsford. Each tour featured different guest speakers, investigating the histories of the ecology and ways of life that once existed, prior to reclamation of the lake. The tours also featured a variety of sensory experiences.
Kingsford Swamp Stream – an audio podcast of speakers and performances that took place throughout the project.
All tours began in the Urban Orchard and ventured through different public spaces in and around the Cultural Centre in Northbridge. For more information about the artists and the project, visit: http://swampclubb.tumblr.com/
Speakers in order of appearance: Marissa Verma (Bindi Bindi Dreaming), Dr. Jacqueline Giles, Dr Noel Nannup.
Musical Excerpts: Mei Saraswati - Honey Eaters in Hedge Corridoors | Mei Sarswati - Smith's Lake Field Recording| A.J Wigwams - Astronaughty | Akioka - Bibra Lake | Mei Saraswati - Slow Movers | Mei Saraswati - Water Pour
Swamp Clubb by Matt Aitken and Mei Swan Lim, 2016.
(Images courtesy of Jacqueline Warwick)
April - June 2016
Commissioned by the City of Perth for TRANSART: TRANSITION 2016.
MMM Energizer is a wind driven, chaotic kinetic sculpture suspended between two trees in Stirling Gardens. Constructed from aluminium tubes and panels painted in vibrant colours, the sculpture catches the wind, rotating around a central suspension point in ever changing configurations. The dance the work performs for the viewer is mesmerising, varying from calm and gentle, to busy and frantic, depending upon the strength of the breeze.
About the Artist
Richard Hammer is a retired mathematician, drawn to the chaos and unpredictability of wind-driven kinetic sculpture. Following a long and successful career in mathematics, Hammer embarked on an education in sculpture, applying his skills to the creation of what he describes as ‘nonsense machines’ made from raw and recycled materials. He now works primarily in stainless steel and aluminium.
MMM Energizer by Richard Hammer, 2016.
(Images courtesy of Jacqueline Warwick)
TRANSART 2015: EXPERIMENTAL
Speculative security forces patroling Perth’s streets and specially designed bouquets from a mobile flower cart, were two of the temporary public art commissions that poped-up in the City between 28 September to 30 October 2015.
City of Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said the projects by Western Australian contemporary artists Alina Tang and Loren Kronemyer appeared as part of the City’s TRANSART 2015: Experimental program.
Alina Tang and her mobile, floral art ‘Tussie Mussies’ and Loren Kroneyer’s ‘Mount Force’ walking the streets, together delivered 12 performances over six weeks, spread across a number of different locations in the City.
TUSSIE MUSSIES | ALINA TANG
Tussie Mussies is an interventionist artwork in the form of a mobile flower cart, which acts as the catalyst for engagement about female identity and strength. The artist will prepare customised bouquets for members of the public, and converse about the flowers and their layers of significance.
1 October, 12 noon - 2pm, Hay Street Mall
5 October, 8am - 10am, outside Art Gallery of WA
6 October, 8am - 10am, outside Art Gallery of WA
7 October, 4pm - 6pm Cnr St George's Tce and William St, Perth
14 October, 11am – 1pm, Central Park
14 October, 1.30pm – 3.30pm, Murray Street Mall
30 October, 7.30pm - 9.30pm, Grand Lane
MOUNT FORCE | LOREN KRONEMYER
Mount Force sees a speculative future security force walking the streets of Perth – a force comprised of humans, horses, and birds of prey working together. This performative work by Perth-based artist Loren Kronemyer explores ideas about authority, security and surveillance by creating a symbolic ‘patrol’, an unexpected spectacle moving through the City.
7 October, 7am - 11am
14 October, 10am - 2pm
30 October, 5pm - 9pm, followed by a live performance by local band Mining Tax at Toastface Grillah, Grand Lane, Perth.
For more information about Mount Force go to: http://mount-force.tumblr.com/
Download the TRANSART Experimental map HERE
TRANSART 2015: RED
Temporary public art popped-up in Perth’s CBD from June 3, 2015, creating surprising stories and interactive experiences for those visiting, living, and working in the City.
Two commissions from WA contemporary artists Mel McVee and Tim Burns appeared in laneways and at the Perth Train Station forecourt on Wellington Street as part of the City’s TRANSART 2015: RED program.
Tim Burns’ installation ‘Victory or Revenge?’ delivered a powerful narrative with ‘red’ explicit in the rust of a wrecked car and iron oxide prevalent across most of WA’s natural landscape.
Melissa McVee’s red-themed, interactive sculptures in the series ‘Automaton in Red’, were exhibited in three different laneway locations, and were based on old-fashioned penny arcade machines.
TRANSART: TRANSITION 2015
Elevated Conversations by Joanna Sulkowski
Commissioned by the City of Perth for TRANSART: TRANSITION 2015, Elevated Conversations was a series of installations by artist Joanna Sulkowski, appearing as aerial banners flown over Perth’s CBD on five separate occasions during April and May 2015.
The ambiguous dialogue within the work is intimate in nature, yet still relatable to each viewer in different ways. The work can be read as highly personal and emotional, yet it retains a sense of humour, as a play on the grand gesture.
A viewer may see just one message, the entirety of the narrative, or even a random number, creating a different context depending how much is noticed and also known about the project as a whole.
A large part of Sulkowski’s practise is centred on noticing the unnoticed, and this is also a featured theme in this work. The work is unexpected, unconventional and cryptic, prompting the audience to question the reasons behind it, fostering the chance for discussion, both in person and through posting images/descriptions of the bizarre sightings on social media, or even use the message as their own!
For more info - click here.
(Images and video courtesy of Neil Wallace)
This exhibition of the following artists was displayed on the façade of Council House, 27 St Georges Terrace, Perth.
PERTH IS SWEET! | SUZANNE BLAKE
5-8, 10-13, 16-18 October, 7pm-1am
Graphic designer Suzanne Blake has designed vibrant pixelated images centring around the theme ‘Perth is Sweet’. Bold, colourful forms will transform Council House into an array of fruit.
AFTERLIGHT | TOM MULLER
19-20, 23-24, 27-31 October; 1-3 November, 7pm-1am
Fremantle-based artist Tom Muller’s work will emulate lighting aspects during transitional periods of day and night – sunrise, sunset, twilight and darkness. The sequence will act as an accelerated expression of the natural process of the intensity of light increasing and decreasing. By elaborating seven illuminated gradient scenes, viewers will witness an artificial rendition of nature’s cycle of light.
REFLECTIONS | ROLY SKENDER
4, 8-13, 15-16, 18-19 November, 7pm-1am
Perth-based artist Roly Skender will present a work derived from a high resolution photographic panorama of the Perth skyline. A range of hues and design features will be obtained by zooming and slowly panning across sections of the larger image. The result will be one or more sequences of abstract reflections of the city onto Council House via the LED lighting system.
Download the flyer here.
The City of Perth regularly commissions Public Art in civic squares, streetscapes, parks and some unexpected places, recognizing that the successful integration of site-specific art enhances the enjoyment of the city experience.
By investing in the City's Public Art Collection, as well as commissioning temporary, ephemeral works, the City is a leader in the development of a rich cultural landscape, helping to create vibrant and active public spaces - essential for a safe and stimulating environment.
The City of Perth Public Art Collection has over 100 works of art distributed throughout the city's precincts (West Perth, East Perth, Northbridge and the CBD). The City continues to commission public works of art and facilitate significant private art projects within the boundaries of Western Australia's capital city, showing leadership and vision in its choices.
Our significant collection of major historic and contemporary public art works includes permanent and temporary installations; works in outdoor private and public spaces, on or within the fabric of buildings or in public foyers; traditional media (e.g. stone, bronze, wood, steel, ceramic), new media (e.g. light basedd, electronic and digital works), and environmental works (e.g. earthworks, landscape art); and functional works (eg. benches and fountains).
These commissioned works stimulate our thinking, deepen our sense of place and experience of space, and transform the places where we live, work, and play.
Request a comprehensive list of our public artworks here; see below for details of our latest commissioned works; and view highlights of our Public Art Collection in the pdf of our Perth City Arts & Culture guide below.
THE BUNNIES by Kat Black and Jasper Cook ( VJZoo)
The Percent for Art Public Art commission for the Key City Worker Housing Project at 111 Goderich Street, East Perth was won by Kat Black and Jasper Cook, known also as VJZoo. The Bunnies are Kat's and Jasper's first major sculptural public artwork.
The 2.5m Polyethylene bunnies have been installed in the four external alcoves of the building above each entrance. These sculptural works are internally lit with low voltage LED lights and reference the 1980s children's Netta night lights. A soft glow from each of the four bunnies signals the way home and welcomes residents to their door.
THE WATER LABYRINTH by Jeppe Hein
Completed in 2012, the Water Labyrinth is the first permanent Jeppe Hein artwork in Australia, commissioned from the Danish artist exclusively for Perth and the Forrest Place site. This interactive water installation is an aquatic pavilion comprising nine rooms that appear and disappear at random, surrounding visitors with walls of water emitted by ground water jets. The artwork uses storm water harvested and recycled from Forrest Place, chlorinated to swimming pool standards and tested daily.
Based in Berlin, Hein is widely known for his production of interactive and participatory artworks that bring together visual art, architecture and technical innovation. Hein's works often focus on the element of surprise and sequencing, inviting the spectator at the centre of the installation to make decisions or be lead by chance, often leading to widespread hilarity and good humour.
The suggestion for Perth to commission a permanent public artwork by Jeppe Hein arose from the success of a similar temporary installation titled Appearing Rooms, part of the 2010 Perth International Arts Festival, in the Perth Cultural Centre outside the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts.
For more information on our Public Art, email email@example.com