Ghosts find lakeside haunt for Contour 556 festival

Ghosts find lakeside haunt for Contour 556 festival

Canberra is tragically remote from the sea but now, after years of envy of Sydney’s and Perth’s vast outdoor Sculpture By The Sea festivals the national capital is to have a kind of Sculpture By The Lake extravaganza.It is called Contour 556 and it opens this weekend and on Tuesday there was a flurry of artwork installing going on. That flurry included Sydney artist and teacher Gary​ Carsley beetling up and down ladders to install his dramatic Of Meaning and Forgetfulness.Sydney artist Gary Carsley is installing his works ahead of the looming Contour 556 festival. Photo: Jamila ToderasThis work consists of several much-larger than life human-figure “ghosts” framed by black but elaborately-patterned wallpaper . The stark spectres decorate some of the big, bold, polished concrete panels of elegant Bowen Place. The ghosts are the silhouettes of famous public statues decorating various cities of the world. They are ghost-like because they have only been created by having been cut out of the wallpaper, leaving, as the ‘flesh’ of their non-bodies, the pale, polished, ectoplasmic-looking concrete of Bowen Place’s panels.​”So when you step back,” the artist invited this reporter, stepping back with me to get a better look at the figure of Neptune, “you see something but actually you don’t, because there’s really nothing there. It’s been taken away. So you see what’s been taken away.”On Thursday and busy wallpapering away  Carsley said that he hoped people would enjoy the attention-demanding installations “on a really popular level and just as street art”. But he has some other, extra nuances in mind as well. For example he likes the idea of Bunnings’ wallpaper, suggestive of private, indoor “middle class domesticity”, being used to decorate so public a space as Bowen Place.Contour 556  will feature the works of 50 local, national and international artists on display on the Lake Burley Griffin foreshore, some at the National Library of Australia and at the National Gallery of Australia’s Sculpture Garden. Bowen Place is…

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