Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)
17 Feb 1994 to 08 Apr 1994
Suspended outside the Circular Quay entrance to the MCA Neil Dawson’s spiral staircase Steps appeared to defy gravity. Using six sections of painted aluminium tubing and held taut with stainless steel wires, the linear structure hung eight metres above the ground, providing a framework for Dawson’s other materials – space and a constantly changing sky.
Spiralling kinetic effects were created as viewers walked around the sculpture. These effects varied with the changing natural and artificial light and the works relationship to the building, the harbour and the cityscape. Dawson described Steps as a visual conundrum, designed to challenge viewers’ conception of the environment, the building’s identity and their own visual perceptions. With Steps Dawson sought to create a work related to the scale of the MCA, complementing the layered rectangular block construction of the building’s 1930s Art Deco design.
This commissioned work was the first project in the MCA’s Mary Burrows Program of Contemporary Art.