STEEL art design architecture showcases 29 outstanding projects by contemporary Australian artists, designers and architects.
Curated by Margaret Hancock Davis.
Ground-breaking steel exhibition showcasing renowned Australian artists, designers and architects.
STEEL: art design architecture is a major exhibition exploring innovative ways that steel is being used by artists, designers and architects in Australia in the 21st century. The exhibition will tour 15 venues nationally and is accompanied by a 264-page catalogue.
Curated by JamFactory’s Margaret Hancock Davis (Senior Curator), the exhibition includes 29 artists, designers and architects from across Australia and brings together products, projects and works of art that reflect many of the current preoccupations with steel within contemporary art, design and architecture in Australia.
Steel is a medium rich in human history. An alloy of iron and carbon, steel dates back to 4,000 years ago and traces the technical and cultural development of multiple civilisations. First forged in hand-made furnaces, steel production and its subsequent use, expanded in the 17th century with the technical innovations of blister and crucible steel. By the 19th century the Bessemer and Siemens-Martin processes heralded in the era of mass steel production.
Today steel is one of the most ubiquitous materials in the world. It inhabits the landscape of our bodies, our domestic spaces and our built environments. A material that ranges from raw and functional to lustrous and decorative – steel blurs the boundary between utilitarian and precious. Its affordability and durability has made it so pervasive that it is often overlooked. Just think of an average day: you may awaken in a house or apartment block whose structural form is made of steel; head to the bathroom where you turn steel taps for a shower under a steel shower rose; next to the kitchen to open your stainless-steel-covered fridge, turn on your steel kettle, and eat breakfast with utensils made from steel; before leaving in cars, motorbikes, trains, trams or buses, over bridges and on tracks, all of which contain some steel.
The exhibitors represent a broad range of approaches to working with steel, and the range of work in the exhibition is extensive – from fine, hand-crafted jewellery to high-tech research facilities. Some of the exhibitors include: the multiple award winning architectural firm BVN, BVN is known for their public architecture having won more Sir John Sulman Medals than any other practice, industrial designers Brodie Neill now based in London and the Bombay Sapphire Design Award winner Trent Jansen for Tait, Contemporary art and design duo Korban Flaubert, leading Aboriginal artists Lorraine Connelly Northey and Gunybi Ganambarr, founding member of the acclaimed Gray street workshop jeweller Sue Lorraine as well as work by the late jeweller Mari Funaki.
The art, design and architecture in an exhibition and publication such as STEEL: art design architecture allows us to think upon the links and similarities between the creative processes, problem solving and design thinking undertaken in these various disciplines. It reveals that many of the concerns that drive these innovative uses of steel engage the themes of identity, locality, materiality and sustainability. A material of such great potential, steel influences nearly all aspect of our lives, rendering the ingenuity, craftsmanship and skill of those working with it practically invisible. Through the 29 exhibitors, STEEL: art design architecture unearths just some of these possibilities.