Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Scoop Homes and Art 36 Contents 214 HOMES & ART AUTUMN 2013
Jon Tarry | Shape shifter
structure on a Canberra street corner – is
an example. “That appears to be made from
one continuous folding plane, like a piece
of origami,” he says. “Actually, it’s made
from two folding planes, you just can’t see
where they overlap.”
In Perth’s new Milligan Street precinct,
his sculpture Clouds (already partially
installed) is made from twisted, stainless
steel tubes. “They look a bit like kids’
drawings or manga,” he says. “It will
incorporate a misting system which,
at certain times of day, forms a cloud. In
bright light, you might see a rainbow.”
The concept was inspired by underground
water systems flowing from Lake Monger
and the Swan River. “I wanted to bring that
story up to the surface though a visually
creative water element,” he says.
Place has always been integral to Jon’s
work. Tracker references a history of
Aboriginal hunting through the city,
while a recent PhD (completed by
invitation through the School of
Architecture and Design at RMIT
University) explored geopolitical space.
Starting with an investigation of rock art
in the Pilbara, he drew parallels to another
project on airport runways.
“I put these diagrams [of runways] in
alphabetical order, so you had Shark Bay
next to San Francisco, and Paraburdoo
next to Paris airport,” he says. “You start
to wonder, what if I could fly from Baghdad
to Busselton? It kind of bypasses this
centralised thinking of ‘international’.”
Though Jon has often collaborated
with architects and worked in response
to buildings, his approach to Perth is
definitively as an artist. In the ruins of
its current transformation – of endless
scaffolding and construction sites –
he doesn’t see what most people do.
“This might sound a bit radical,” he warns,
“but if you look at where the railway is
being sunk, it’s really fascinating. All the
trenches and sand and concrete – the good
stuff is there now, soon it will be gone.”
Some of his most curious work involves
demolished buildings. In 2004, he filmed
the destruction of Mosman Park mansion
Prix D’Amour, once home to Rose Porteous
and Lang Hancock (the project featured
in a chapter of architect Richard Weller’s
recent publication Boomtown).
In 2011, his attention turned to the
demolition of Perth Entertainment Centre.
“Initially I wanted to do something
sculptural with the building, like using
lights or cutting a hole through it,” he says.
“But there was a lot of nervousness [from
the owners] about that.” So he reverted
to film – returning every week for nine
months as the building diminished.
“I don’t consider myself a filmmaker
or photographer – I just worked with
what I had,” says Jon of his tools, which
included a wooden pinhole camera and
“My work is eclectic,
moving in constantly
there is a connection
between it all, but the
expression is different.
I like using materials
to activate spaces.”
TOP LEFT: Artist impression of Tracker, a 2000sqm floor
artwork at Perth railway station. BELOW LEFT: Jon making
sound art at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery.
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