A mix of quotes in this post: the title is from a W H Auden poem, the photo caption is from “The Clock of Life” by Robert H Smith. This particular stopped clock is on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour: convict prison; industrial school and reformatory for girls; ship building site; dockyard; and now urban campground and cultural events venue. From 1857 to 1991, Cockatoo Island was Australia’s primary shipbuilding and repair facility. I find something quite poignant in this clock, its frozen hands hinting at a time when the cavernous building in which it hangs bustled with noise and work.
This photo shows part of an art work at this year’s Biennale on Cockatoo Island. Viewers walked through darkened shipping containers with mirrors on which were etched extracts of Icarus from Sun and Steel by Yukio Mishima. (While Mishima’s version is not that of the ancient myth, in which Icarus flew so close to the sun that the wax holding his feathered wings together melted and he fell to earth, it nonetheless evokes that story.)
The viewer’s perception changed as they walked through the containers, turning corners and looking back; the experience was very affecting.
I saw this sculpture at the Biennale exhibit at Cockatoo Island in April. Its smooth bronze shape contrasted with the rough cement walls and metal beams of the room, and the lighting drew your eye to the sculpture. I don’t understand the title (‘Retreat From Investment’), but that’s not necessarily an obstacle to enjoyment.