On the Waterfront: Anger and Activism as Agents for Public Sculpture

By Dan Wollmering.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The ‘political’ in the visual arts and those artists who engage single-minded or on the peripheral is contingent on the context of the times and the social impacts that resonate. Yet, the phrase ‘political art’ can have extended and varied associations from the personal, local, regional, state and global perspective, tapping into gender, ethnic, social and environmental based issues. In this paper, the author, as a participant on the picket line in one of Australia’s largest industrial disputes re-contextualises the event through a public art/sculpture project that is underpinned by memory and place. The result is both a tribute and marker to those workers who challenged authorities and fought for the rights and conditions of union members. In bringing together the psychological with the social, an enquiry of open-ended design produces a hybrid work: part sculpture and part architecture. This paper revisits experiences and events from that time and argues that the political in art experienced from a personal viewpoint can enrich the creative process and deliver extended cultural meaning through recollection, discussion and action.

Keywords: Activism, Democracy, Political, Public Sculpture, Site-Referential

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp.67-80. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 4.845MB).

Dr. Dan Wollmering

Senior Lecturer, The Department of Fine Arts, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Dr. Dan Wollmering is Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of the Sculpture Studio in the Faculty of Art & Design, Monash University, Australia. Born in St Paul, Mn., Wollmering immigrated to Australia in 1975. Since that time, he has held 25 solo exhibitions and has worked in over 40 group exhibitions internationally. He has undertaken residencies in Australia, China, Malaysia and the USA, completing a number of public sculpture projects that focus on site-referential interests. His research projects include sculpture and the condition of the abstract, beauty and art in the civic sphere.