Artwork by Maria Fernanda Cardoso is incorporated into the new mixed development at 116 Bathurst Street in Sydney’s CBD, which was designed by Candlebas Associates About Castle Residences.
The artwork, titled Ripples and Droplets, will be the largest public artwork by an Australian artist in Sydney’s CBD and spans 11 floors. It is inspired by the natural movement of water and is located on one of the walls of the 36-storey tower.
Commissioned by United Development Sydney as part of the mixed Castle Residences project, Cardoso has worked closely with architect Angelo Candalepas since the start of the design process in 2014, as well as with Curator Amanda Sharad.
The artist’s design – concentric circles and spirals like ripples on a puddle, as well as the silky thread of a spider’s web – reflects the broad direction of her creative career. Cardoso says she’s fascinated by the natural geometry of the world, which has hidden her magnified details from the naked eye.
“When I started making public art, I felt so easy. I had prepared all my life for it. In public places, scale is very important, because most things are unimaginable. Scale makes them visible,” she says.
“The patterns are like ripples in water, and if you look closely, there are drops. My concept from the beginning was to paint as a liquid. That is why it ended up with ripples and drops.”
The mural is part of a series called Paintings and Drawings. The name refers to a technique invented by the artist that allows her to draw and paint simultaneously. Instead of a brush, you work with a bowl that dispenses paint through a small plastic tube and needle, creating drip effects as you draw lines across the surface.
“Artwork is needed on the buildings to reflect the intentions of the architectural work, which is also art. We wanted to add to the city something strong like a Josef Albers sculpture in Martin Place or Alexander Calders in Australia Square – but with an Australian artist,” says architect Angelo Candalibas.
“Maria Fernanda Cardoso listened to the building’s needs and realized that the work favored the old idea of a circle in geometry and a sphere and the lack of pendulums in making these shapes. Her work reflects the frail nature of circles rather than their certainty, and in so doing they adhere to nature. It is completed by contemporary technology to appear uncertain and permanent, Simultaneously and absent from time.
“It sits uncomfortably on microns of a concrete wall like the constellation of a thousand spiders. It left behind a wonderful message of optimism in engineering, about the capacity of man to deliver something delightful, the arches of Castlereagh Street finding their source in this reflection of nature.”
The ripples and drops can be seen above and to the right of the Castlereagh Street frontage at 116 Bathurst Street, over a bypass by Porter House. The work is designed to be seen laterally, since most of the observation points will be across the street or from below. The building is scheduled to be completed in early 2022.