Public Art

 

The One Brother and the Dark Cloud, Corner of Eastwood and Park Street, Pretoria (2010)

The One Brother and the Dark Cloud, Corner of Eastwood and Park Street, Pretoria (2010)

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

The scale of this work was influenced by Taylor’s great interest in and appreciation for public art. The representation of The one brother challenges both the traditional idealised and objectified figure such as the hero, as well as the notion of the surface or image created for ‘the male gaze’. The young African represented here is one of three brothers known by the artist. This work has no political connotations, but merely embodies the larger, unheralded collective of here and now.

The technique used by Taylor here causes the surface of the figure to appear withered, revealing cracks as well as parts of the inner framework. In this technique, Taylor models the sculptures past completion, waiting for them to deteriorate before he captures them in a mould, so that instead of creating the mould at the peak of the work’s perfection - the bell curve - he waits for the material to corrode and crumble. The ruining of the material by time tells the story, as concepts implicit to the meaning of the work deal with order and chaos, continuity and discontinuity, life and death, and ultimately it is this ‘ruination’ that is cast.

By contrast, a reflective smooth stainless-steel shape made up of interlocking spheres hovers above the fragile body like a lead balloon or a speech or thought bubble. It casts a dark shadow on the figure, as we do on our environment.

These spheres also represent a ‘dark cloud’, an image which has become a personal symbol of the artist, developed for the Centenary sculptures at the University of Pretoria in 2009. In the Centenary works, the spherical shapes may be interpreted as the interrelated and interdependent schools of thought generated at that institution. The ‘dark cloud’ has the same cumulative nature: the interlocking spherical shapes symbolize abstract ideas such as disciplines of thought and influences like science or religion.

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