Sydney Modern’s Tank Gallery’s first commission is sculptor Adrian Villar Rojas
The resulting forms, which the artist has described as “witnesses to turbulent change” and “impossible objects”, were made over the past year in an experimental studio in the artist’s hometown. , Rosario, where he “pushed materials to the limit” to depict the sculptures’ journeys through time.
The work was funded by Destination NSW and admission will be free to the public. It’s a key part of Sydney Modern’s opening program which will feature works by over 900 Australian and international artists and will be unveiled on Wednesday morning.
The reservoir will be programmed in the same way as the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in that there will be an annual commission of a site-specific installation that only affects that location.
The artist, who destroys most of his installations after an exhibition and recovers their elements to reuse them, remains secret about his works until they are opened to the public.
The Tank’s concrete columns interrupt sight lines, making it unsuitable for traditional exhibition hanging, but its ultra-precise acoustics lend the space to sensory multimedia works.
Arts Minister Ben Franklin, trained for 10 years in singing, is an admirer of the gallery’s acoustics. “I was lucky enough to feel the reverberation which lasted 21 or 22 seconds,” he said.
“You know, Notre-Dame is only 16 years old. It was amazing.
“It made me realize the kind of extraordinary variety of cultural and creative uses that there will be. There will be amazing installations that play with size and shape.
Villar Rojas first visited space four years ago, before COVID-19 swept the world.
“When I first visited in 2018 and descended a ladder into the Tank, I understood with all my senses the power and potential of this subterranean realm with all its layers of time, materials and history,” he said recently.
And one of the most important mediums has been time – time to dwell in a space, to talk with everyone from archivists to Indigenous curators to conservators, to push ideas and technologies, and to to integrate into the project the conditions of a world that has changed massively.
Commissions for the Tank Gallery will be by invitation only, but news of this unique space is already generating international interest.
With its dark and gritty industrial origins, the Oil Tank provides an atmospheric counterweight to the upstairs galleries enveloped by Sydney Modern’s glass sheath.
The disused oil tanks were decommissioned and the two manholes were locked in the 1980s. They were discovered during geotechnical surveys undertaken in 2014.
SANAA architects decided to use one as a gallery and to place a mezzanine in the other for the facilities in the back house.
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