The MCA Sculpture Commission is an ongoing program of artworks commissioned for the Museum’s 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.
Composer is a 6-metre high, kinetic sculpture that explores current issues around energy consumption, sustainable sources of energy and global warming. Rothwell’s artistic practice interrogates political ideas in poetic, subtle, even humorous ways, which can generate dialogue and open up new perspectives.
Composer acts as a wind turbine where the wind flowing over the MCA Sculpture Terrace is harnessed to create light. The sculpture is powered by a pinwheel – an up-scaled version of a child’s seaside toy, usually propelled by wind or their breath. Attached to the mast of the sculpture is a windswept female figure. This figure operates as a weather vane, moving around the mast with the ambient air flow.
Caroline Rothwell said: “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.”
“Composer is 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 environmental consequences of human endeavour,” Rothwell added.
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, commented: “We are thrilled to be collaborating with Caroline Rothwell on this new Commission. Her work is a great example of how contemporary artists address complex ideas and challenge us to think and see the world differently. Yet despite the gravity of her interests, they are approached with humour and playfulness. I have no doubt her sculpture will capture the imagination of our culturally diverse visitors, and fuel meaningful conversations.”
This new commission follows previous MCA Sculpture Terrace Commissions by Hany Armanious (2012-2014) and Sangeeta Sandrasegar (2014-2016).
About Caroline Rothwell:
Caroline Rothwell is a multidisciplinary, concept-driven Australian artist whose work explores ecology, nature, poetic and political ideology through process and form. Her distinct processes include: molten metal cast into fabric waste-moulds; PVC cut into large sculptural paintings; nylon sewn and inflated to create anthropomorphic monuments; and industrial emissions translated into delicate paintings.
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 recent and upcoming projects include Turbulence, solo show with Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne; System, solo show at Australian Print Workshop; Antipodes: cut apart at Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge (with Tom Nicholson and Brook Andrew); wall drawing for Temple Contemporary, Philadelphia (US); Cartwheeling Youngsters, six bronze sculptures commissioned for Canada Bay Council; Dark Heart: Biennial of Australian Art at Art Gallery of South Australia; Urpflanze Street Plants, solo exhibition at Museum of Economic Botany; OMI International Arts Centre residency, New York; Weather Maker at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery; The Pulse of Time (with Chiharu Shiota), Future Perfect, Singapore; Dispersed at The Economist Plaza commissioned by London’s Contemporary Art Society.
Caroline Rothwell is represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne.
Additional information: www.carolinerothwell.net