Adelaide Riverbank to feature landmark public artwork by James Geurts
The 25-metre long sculptural piece will be integrated into the ceiling of the new northern entrance to the Adelaide Railway Station, which will run beneath SKYCITY’s new hotel building and link the railway station concourse to the Riverbank Footbridge.
The new station entrance will be a grand arcade featuring a series of intersecting vaults arching down to the ground, new retail spaces and a new entrance to the Dunstan Playhouse. It is part of a broader program of works set to transform Adelaide Railway Station and Festival Plaza.
James’ work focuses on the unseen geological forces that shape our landscape, such as fault lines, aquifers and tectonic collisions, and how these underground phenomena, forged over time, impact the way we perceive and relate to the world around us.
His installation will be made up of dozens of sculptural elements that will create a three-dimensional illusion of an ancient geological formation and rupture as pedestrians move in and out of the station.
James’ artwork draws on his most recent solo exhibition entitled Seismic Field II at GAGPROJECTS (Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide – pieces from this exhibition can be viewed in the gallery below), which used drawing, neon, polaroid photography and scanning equipment to explore the geophysical tectonics that run through South Australia.
“My new work for the station—Fluid Geography—is influenced by the ancient subterranean rifts that have defined greater Adelaide over thousands of years, and has been informed by site research, study of maps and research at the South Australian Museum,” James said.
“Adelaide is effectively wedged between two major fault lines, the Para fault in the north and the Eden-Burnside fault in the Adelaide Hills, creating an evocative context for this new artwork.
“I was drawn to the scale of this project, and how the layers of the sculpture could reverberate optically as people move in an arc between the station and the Riverbank.
“The work intends to heighten the parallels between the natural world and the human world, and how geological momentum taking place below-ground has influence over—and is influenced by—human movement and behaviour above-ground,” says James.
Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government, Stephen Knoll, said that the new art installation intended for the station entrance will become an important cultural centrepiece in this bigger redevelopment of the wider Riverbank precinct.
“Public art helps us connect to places and experiences, allowing us to form a relationship with our built environment,” said Minister Knoll.
“The public artwork by James Geurts will not only heighten the feeling of transition between the station and the Riverbank and help establish it as a landmark gateway, but expand the number of dynamic art experiences offered in Adelaide.”
James was awarded the commission following an expression of interest process that yielded submissions from artists from all over Australia and overseas. The selection process was overseen by a Public Art Reference Group specifically set up to provide expert advice to the state government.
James has completed the concept design for Fluid Geography and will now begin the task of refining his vision and overseeing the fabrication of the various components that make up his large-scale artwork.
Fabrication and assembly of the artwork will commence in early 2020 and the big reveal will take place in late 2020.
About James Geurts
James Geurts is an international artist who works across the disciplines of sculpture, drawing, land-art, public art, installation, video and photography. His works draw out geographic and conceptual forms that are layered within specific sites of research, examining how natural and cultural forces shape perception.
Currently based in Melbourne, James has spent significant time living and working in Adelaide and has a particular focus on the unique geological phenomena of the Flinders Ranges. His South Australian body of work also includes public artworks informed by Lake Frome, Port Adelaide, the Artesian Water Basin, the Coorong and the mouth of the Murray River.
James has exhibited internationally in the Netherlands, Taiwan, Germany, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. He has also exhibited locally in South Australia at the Adelaide Biennial-Art Gallery of South Australia, Artspace Gallery Festival Centre, the Australian Experimental Art Foundation and the Samstag Museum of Art.
James is represented by GAGPROJECTS based in Adelaide.
Photo, top of page: James Geurts and his bioluminescent installation, ‘Water Gate’, Kuandu Museum of Fine Art (KdMoFA), Taiwan 2017 (courtesy of the artist and GAGPROJECTS)