Container City, 2011
by Axel Arnott
Head Curator, Sculpture by the Sea - Aarhus, Denmark
Container City - statement
Container City is the entry point and administrative hub of Sculpture by the Sea Aarhus 2011. Assembled from refurbished containers that reference an industry so important to Aarhus and Denmark, it also alludes to the temporary buildings created for the “White City” National Exhibition staged on the same site in 1909.
Many of the functions of a city are to be found here also: administration and technical services offices, headquarters for business and commercial outlets, education facilities, places to eat, to drink, to gather together. And like most cities, a temple is to be found at its heart: consumer temple- aarhus by Australian sculptor Gary Deirmendjian.
Both projects have informed the development of the other across many months and with the assistance of many people from Denmark and Australia. However each project required the freedom to realise it’s own aims and resolve it’s own challenges. Container City is firstly a response to providing for administrative and technical necessities in a beautiful but unpredictable landscape. Where as consumer temple – aarhus is one artist’s sculptural response to contemporary global challenges.
Side by side they act to both reinforce and question each other. Together they meet the vast scale of the Tangkrogen landscape with the intent of providing an appropriate entry to the exhibition with an artists project at its heart.
This relationship is illustrative of the wider challenge for artists and exhibition staff in creating a sculpture exhibition in the public landscape. The landscape itself becomes a quiet but forceful member of the dialogue suggesting it’s own opportunities and limitations; it’s own logic and rhythms. It demands scale in some places and intimacy in others. It provides a stage for a diversity of creative expression that must be viewed through the lens of technical possibility. If a balance is achieved the works have sense of belonging which begins to emerge. It is a condition we can strive for by encouraging the dialogue.
- Axel Arnott