Wurrungwuri: Chris Booth at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens
by Ken Scarlett
New Zealand artist Chris Booth recently completed a massive installation of undulating sandstone at the Royal Botanic Gardens—350 tons of rock cascading downhill along the shores of Sydney harbor. The wave-like form is an impressive 22 meters long and rises, at its highest, three meters above ground level (not high enough to intimidate the children who climbed it fearlessly on opening day). The work also includes a separate section constructed of 16,000 quartz pebbles, designed as a roosting place for microbats.
It is informative to look back at earlier earthworks and installations and note changing viewpoints over the years. That artists have distinctly different personalities and their own sets of principles and philosophies is axiomatic, all part of what contributes to the development of recognizable styles. In recent years, as we have all become concerned with the impact of climate change, another factor has become increasingly important—the artist’s attitude and relationship to the environment.
Wurrungwuri, 2011. Gosford sandstone, stainless steel bolts, soil and indigenous flora and fauna, 3 x 10 x 22 meters.