From his studio in St Kilda, Chris Rak creates sculptures that explore the relationships between object and space.
May 26th, 2011
With a background in both architecture and sculpture, the work of Melbourne-based Chris Rak occupies the space between these 2 fields.
Indesignlive caught up with Chris for an insight into his practice and processes.
How does your architectural training inform your sculpture, and vice versa?
My sculptural and architectural training have allowed me to meld both these object-based and spatial disciplines to create harmonious relationships between object and space and design the transformations that continuously occur between them.
My architectural training has informed me on construction methods, which for me are always integral to the character of the work. ’Graphia’ for example was a large piece which I was able to carry to site, but is so strong and rigid thanks to the architectural principles of the triangulated space frame.
I have a purist approach to materials; I like to use honest materials with a long life span which mature and evolve. The building process informs the work and vice versa – metal for my sculpture and earth for our architecture.
My architecture business, Robson Rak, has a number of rammed earth houses being built at the moment. Rammed earth literally entails the builder to ram the earth into form work which is similar to the labour intensiveness used in my sculptures. It also has the organic texture so intrinsic to my sculptures.
Lockington by Robson Rak
Both architecture and sculpture often change in the process of being built and it’s exciting to work with these surprises and challenges. Every gesture has an impact and I look forward to experiencing the consequences of that.
Both disciplines depend on the use of light and I design around that. As in my Metakivos/Kivos range, light is in constant dialogue with my faceted landscapes.
You have created pieces for the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore. What do you want your pieces to bring to such large-scale commercial projects?
I want my works to help bring a sense of intimacy and scale to such large scale commercial spaces.
How do you want people to react when they encounter your sculptures?
I want people to be intrigued and excited by my work. I want them to discover the hidden elements and the story within them.
I also want people to be bemused and seduced by an object that looks simple and incidental but has required a high level of craft and time to build.
If one of your pieces could take pride of place anywhere in the world, where would it be?
There are many places in the world I’d like one of my pieces to take pride of place. For now though I’d be happy to see one of my large works climbing the face of one of the old buildings in Melbourne’s CBD.
Read more about Chris Rak in Issue 45 of Indesign magazine, available now.
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