Born 1967, Hull, England. Lives and works in Sydney.
Commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia with funds donated by Ginny & Leslie Green and Sculpture Commission donors, 2016
Caroline Rothwell investigates how ideas and beliefs have shaped our contemporary world. Her work explores systems of human interaction relating to time, nature, history and science. This interest has led into research around the colonisation of climate and representations of the future.
Rothwell’s commission for the Loti Smorgon Sculpture Terrace – Composer – extends this particular interest in both the causes and impacts of climate change through scale and materials new to the artist’s practice. Poetic and whimsical, Composer is a 6-metre high, kinetic sculpture that explores current issues around energy consumption. The work acts as a wind turbine where the air flowing over the Sculpture Terrace is harnessed to create light. The sculpture is powered by a pinwheel – an up-scaled version of a child’s toy, usually propelled by their breath, or by the wind. Attached to the mast of the sculpture is a windswept female figure, operating as a weather vane.
She describes Composer as:
...a double-edged work. It is reminiscent of a bittersweet fairy tale, with darkness and light intertwined. On the one hand, it is a whimsical form. On the other, it explores evolving relationships between humans and the natural environment and questions the consequences of human endeavour.
Caroline Rothwell was born in rural Northern England. It was a serendipitous trip to Australia at age 19 which sparked her desire to become an artist. Upon returning to London, she enrolled at the University of the Arts London (Camberwell). She then went on to pursue her postgraduate studies in New York and Auckland. She has been living in Sydney since 2004.
Her exhibitions include Turbulence, (solo exhibition), Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne (2016); System, (solo exhibition) Australian Print Workshop (2016); Antipodes: cut apart (with Tom Nicholson and Brook Andrew), Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge (2016); Habit, (wall drawing), Temple Contemporary, Philadelphia (2015); Cartwheeling Youngsters, six bronze sculptures commissioned for Canada Bay Council (2015); Dark Heart: 2014 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia (2014); Weather Maker, (solo exhibition), Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney (2014); and The Pulse of Time (with Chiharu Shiota), Future Perfect, Singapore (2013). As well as exhibiting extensively in public and private galleries Rothwell has undertaken public commissions at The Economist Plaza, London, for the Contemporary Art Society; for Canada Bay City Council; for the City of Sydney; and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
Caroline Rothwell is represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne.
The MCA Sculpture Commission is an ongoing program of works commissioned for the Loti Smorgon Sculpture Terrace on Level 4. The Museum works with artists to realise new, temporary artworks that respond to this unique site overlooking Sydney Harbour.
This is such an exciting commission. I’m honoured to have the opportunity to make a work for the Museum of Contemporary Art on such an incredible site.