Why bring art to the home when you can bring home to the art? Two new homes are currently being constructed outside the Art Gallery of NSW, swallowing up Gilbert Bayes’ monumental bronze equestrian statues. When they open up at the start of next month visitors will be able to enter via a ramp into a cosy bedroom or living room – perfectly reconstructed with windows, carpets and furnishings – with the larger-than-life hoarse and rider structures protruding out of the floor or bed.
The project is the latest from Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi who has been building domestic spaces around public monuments, artworks and streetlights for over a decade. A temporary woman’s boudoir enclosing the statue on the roof of the Hermès flagship store in Tokyo; a studio apartment atop a 14th-century cathedral in Basel, incorporating its bronze angel as the centrepiece of the living room table, and a hotel room built around Picasso’s iconic Femme au fichu bleu within the gallery space are a few examples of his past work. By incorporating familiar, pre-existing structures and images into temporary, intimate domains he literally recontextualises them, forcing us to reconsider the public/private divide.
The War and peace and in between constructions open on October 2 at the AGNSW to coincide with a major retrospective being held there of John Kaldor’s ambitious public art commissions, which started 40 years ago when he invited Christo and Jeanne-Claude to come to Australia and wrap Little Bay in canvas. Since then Kaldor has instigated many seminal public art projects, including Gilbert & George’s Singing Sculpture in 1973, Jeff Koons’ Puppy in 1995, Bill Viola’s video instillations in a Redfern church last year, and now the wonderful Tatzu Nishi.