Thursday 29 July 2010

Michael Doolan, Super Maker


Next time you're at Fed Square, make sure you look up to check out the most excellent and most awesome installation Once Upon a Time by Michael Doolan.

Commissioned by Craft Victoria, Super Maker is a large-scale, public artwork created by an established craft practitioner. Michael is our inaugural Super Maker and his work Once Upon a Time consists of a giant inflatable sculpture featuring a puffy teddy bear colliding head on with an equally puffy railway train.

This major installation is part of Craft Cubed and "with its hyper-crafted qualities and super-presence, it extends the realm on contemporary craft". In other words, it's super!

For a more articulate discussion of Once Upon a Time, click here to read Stuart Koop's essay High Drama.


And now for a word from Michael:

"While never intended to be wholly believable, the fairy tale contains sufficient sense to insure the audience understands its application in the real world”.

Mike Ashley, The Encyclopaedia of Enchantment, Berkley, University of California press, 1984, p186.

Once Upon a Time is a large scale, cold air or helium filled, fairy-tale inspired sculpture that will be suspended above the viewer, deliberately sited to enable the observer to engage with the work as an active and intimate participator.

The aim is to capture and reveal in large scale the ‘essence of the childhood narrative’. This will be achieved through the utilisation of commonly drawn fairy tale motifs typically revealed within a woodland setting, such as the house, the tree and the talking animal.

This work will originate from the creation of a three dimensional hand-modelled prototype, achieved by exploiting the immediately responsive materiality of clay, and applying it to digital technology via a three dimensional scanning process and CAD cam software. From this digitally captured image the data will be re-scaled, deconstructed and programmed to design and create panel layouts. These fabric panels will then be employed to construct an up-scaled, light-weight; air filled three dimensional version of the original proto-type.

As with all fairy tale narratives, this work will also suggest the existence of perhaps a darker side, achieved through the employment of a ‘signal’ colouration or placement within a challenging setting, thus revealing a cautionary note to the viewer.

There is a deliberate intention with this new work to prompt forgotten memories of childhood, and question the way we perceive ourselves in the adult world, providing a new pathway for understanding how our childhood has impacted on and influences the way we behave as adults.

The work will be on a scale that competes with the world.


Michael Doolan


Joe Pascoe and Michael Doolan



Michael Doolan is represented by Melbourne's Karen Woodbury Gallery.

Awesome photography: Lily Feng

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