The swell sculpture reflects dreams by the sea


Beachgoers encountering the huge Dream Gazebo at Queensland’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibition enjoy climbing inside.

“It’s a very beautiful piece. It’s almost not art,” its creator Jasmine Mainsbridge told AAP.

“You don’t need an intellectual approach. People just want to jump in there.”

The two-meter-tall steel installation on Currumbin Beach in the southern Gold Coast is one of 70 works on display at the 2022 Swell Sculpture Festival.

Mainsbridge’s creations are an industrial process. One fabricator in western Victoria fabricated the aluminum frame of its gazebo, another fabricated the marine-grade stainless steel exterior, and a third cut the pink plexiglass roof.

It said its production costs had increased by a third due to the recent rise in steel prices, with the steel component alone costing more than $7,000.

The seemingly solid sculpture was made in several parts and packed flat, which Mainsbridge learned the hard way.

“The first sculpture I made was a big solid cubic mass and it cost me so much money just to get from my home to Melbourne,” she said.

Mainsbridge, from Hamilton in western Victoria, has been sculpting for four years and sees her work as a three-dimensional extension of her geometric paintings and murals.

She said it was a constant experiment to see if the materials, costs, logistics and deadlines could be reconciled with the ideas she wanted to express.

Dream Gazebo was completed three days before being trucked to the Gold Coast.

With state borders reopening, Mainsbridge was on the beach for the first time in two years to help set up her job.

“I’m really happy when I see them come to life because they’ve been in my head for so long,” she said.

The artist hopes to find a buyer for the $15,000 work.

“It’s nice when I sell them – basically I’ll make another one. It’s kind of like a sculpture breeding program,” she said.

Swell started in 2003 with 20 sculptures. Now in its 20th year, the event has attracted over 150 artists, with works stretching over more than a mile of sand.

Memorable sculptures from recent years include a giant, inflatable head of a diver that appeared to be partially submerged in the sand, titled Damien Hirst Looking for Sharks, by Danger Dave, and Superegg by Jaco Roeloffs – an installation in the shape of a 500 kg egg made from 3000 used Nespresso coffee pods.

The Swell Sculpture Festival continues at Currumbin Beach until September 18.


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