Syzygy II


"Syzygy II" (detail), 2019. Fennel stems, jute twine, metal cable and swivel, rope, bricks, acrylic paint; "sphere" 240cm diameter.

Fennel is an aromatic weed (Latin name Foeniculum vulgare) which grows in tall clumps on untended land - beside railway tracks, on vacant blocks, along riverbanks. It’s an introduced species in Australia, and it thrives here. (The edible fennel is Foeniculum vulgare var. azoricum). Wild fennel’s tall segmented stems, harvested, trimmed and dried, are light and strong - an abundant and unused natural resource. Collected in summer, bundles of them have stood in my studio for many months before a purpose for them became apparent. Tied together with jute twine, they build "Syzygy II".

The form is an augmented  dodecahedron, with each pentagonal face braced by five ribs meeting in the centre. Twelve faces, made of ten lengths of fennel stem, assemble into an almost-sphere, of considerable size and - astounding in itself, for a structure of this size and method of construction - self-supporting. Suspended from the gallery ceiling by a metal swivel, the work can rotate, making reference in microcosm to the movements of larger spheres…

"Syzygy II" follows the creation and eventual disintegration of its original incarnation "Syzygy" at the Tropical Spice Garden on the island of Penang in Malaysia. Commissioned in 2013 for the 10th anniversary of the Garden, "Syzygy" was built from the red-barked branches of the clove tree, Syzygium aromaticum, and installed, suspended at height, amongst the same trees whose pruned branches provided its materials.

The name of the work came partly from the coincidental name of the clove tree genus -Syzygium - but celebrates the serendipitous astronomical meaning of the word: the conjunction or opposition of two heavenly bodies or planetary spheres. One of these spheres is the sculpture, organic, biodegradable and fragile, an imperfect representation of a perfect form. The other is the sphere above which it is suspended, and which entirely sustains us - our planet, Earth. To which the same adjectives might apply…

Tim Craker, August 2018

Udo Website Builder