Public Art


Co-presence (Apollonian - Dionysian), Irene Village Mall, Centurion (2007)

Co-presence (Apollonian - Dionysian), Irene Village Mall, Centurion (2007)

Medium: Steel and stainless steel | Photos by Elizabeth Olivier-Kahlua

On a less pastoral note is Apollonian – Dionysian co-presence, two cast-steel figures squat either side of a board game. This sculpture has a more traditional technical approach. Co-presence is a work based on the two oppositional mythological characters of Apollo and Dionysus, and refers to continuity and discontinuity, and the co-presence of both order and chaos. For Taylor, one character without the other would become ‘propaganda’, or a comment on either order or chaos.

The two larger-than-life male figures, similar in appearance, were modelled in clay over a steel armature and the clay was allowed to dry to the point that it cracked away from the armature in places. The resulting imperfect forms were cast in steel and stainless steel respectively and both display a polished metal surface detail. This links them together as one piece, as well as making reference formally to works by Guy Du Toit, another artist involved in the public sculpture project at the Mall.

This casting of the cracked clay also links to the Japanese design aesthetic of wabi-sabi where nothing is perfect, nothing is finished, nothing is permanent. The decision to allow the clay to crack and break before casting stands too as a testament to the African understanding of the co-existence of both chaos and order in our environment. Taylor says of this work that he wanted the appearance of the sculptures to refer to an African tradition in which the body shape is kept relatively simple and stylised but the surface decoration is made dramatic by the addition of symbolic shapes and objects.

The work is situated next to an outside restaurant and lends an informal air to the setting. Western and African histories seem to merge in the common act of playing a board game.

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