Our star is still shining for Marco
28 May 2009
The Southern Star Observation Wheel’s recent dramas haven’t detracted from its inspiration for renowned Melbourne artist Marco Luccio.
Marco is currently exhibiting in Carlton a collection of works which feature Docklands’ wheel as its centrepiece.
Totem City explores the city under construction, the city as a working sketch and as a changing organism. It stamps the crane, a common thread in Marco’s work throughout his 20 years of image making, as a symbol for civilisation.
The key to the creative intensity of Totem City is the time Marco spent on the construction sites around Melbourne, where he drew for countless hours responding to the “theatre” of these industrial sites.
“I was formally ‘inducted’ onto these sites which gave me very close access to the action. I worked amongst the noise of the cranking of heavy machines, the whistles of the foreman and the shouts from men as they worked together in building these massive constructs. The whole thing was like a symphony,” he said.
“Once inducted on-site and surrounded by massive cranes, for example at times five cranes wrapped around the wheel simultaneously, it was surreal - I felt like I was in a Jurassic Park for cranes,” he said.
Why the wheel? “The first moment I saw the wheel it was just the striking metal star and the long white legs holding it up. It struck me as a type of motif or symbol, a possible totem for civilisation. A tribal gesture. Simple. Bold,” he said.
“Later as the circular surrounds were added it resembled a logo, similar to a Mercedes Benz logo, the car hood ornament. It was also such a simple and elegant shape. As the pods were being added it took on a science fiction quality as the large arms of cranes picked up and delivered the pods to the wheel racks.”
“One of my favourite moments on the wheel site was drawing it from below, from beneath a mountain of rubble, a pile of site leftovers that included plastic strips with skeletal shapes, metal bolts and bricks. From here the wheel appeared totemic, clean and white, defiant to the unfinished, dirty discards of leftover parts no longer useful.”
“Presently the wheel stands still. A symbol of disrupted commerce, a disparate and self-conscious symbol of modernity sitting idle amongst the ‘wastelands’.”
“I chose the wheel because I knew the fascinating star shape and its massive tubular legs would fire the automatic response that inspires my work.”
“With the wheel not currently in use, it somehow seems poignant and adds another level of meaning to the ideal of the structure as a totem for civilisation.”
Forty works are being exhibited. Showcases filled with sketchbooks, tools and photographs - as well as a DVD of Marco working in his studio and on site - add depth and interest to the visitors’ experience to the exhibition.
The exhibition runs until June 28 at STEPS GALLERY, 62 Lygon St, Carlton South. www.marcoluccio.com
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