By Jonathan Porter
In April, the Adelaide Hills were alive with the sound of sculpting, from the sibilant whine of the angle grinder, to the clink of the chisel as the artists’ tools leave their marks on stones ranging from the toughest Coober Pedy granite to the country rock native to this renowned winemaking region.
2016 marked the third and final Adelaide Hills International Sculpture Symposium at The Cedars, where visitors marveled at 10 world-class artists who work in the medium of stone and who had been invited to The Cedars in Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills to work their magic.
This symposium completed a vision from the Symposium’s artistic director Silvio Apponyi to “enrich the hills with sculpture”.
Apponyi, himself an internationally acclaimed artist sculptor bought the 10 artists together from around the world to “carve their dreams in stone”.
With over 20,000 visitors to last year’s event, it has attracted a worldwide following.
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Visitors in their hundreds are at Cedars daily to see the work close up, and observe artisans at their labours.
Most visitors stay for a coffee or lunch to really absorb themselves in the surroundings, hear the noise, smell the dust and fumes and to be involved in drilling, chipping, sanding and polishing granite and marble.
Each artist is given a piece of rock and in 21 days will create a permanent legacy for the communities and visitors to the Adelaide Hills.
Eventually they will leave behind the Hills Sculpture Trail, which included 26 permanent works.
The symposium’s sculptors are a diverse and eclectic bunch, with artists coming from as far away as Italy, New Zealand, Bulgaria, China, The Netherlands, England, South Korea, Japan as well as a leavening of home-grown artists to enrich the group.
One such artist was Liu Yang who comes from the north of China and has degrees in food science and economic management.
After working both as a reporter and director in newspapers and China Central Television, where he had his own talk show, he settled on his longstanding passion and became a sculptor.
Now he has the same high profile and reputation he achieved in his previous career.
His emphasis is on public art as a form of communication and his works show such contrasts as the relationship between soft rope and hard stone and the interaction of colour and geometric forms.
He has since attended sculpture symposiums in 20 countries across five continents, and created more than 30 artworks. He also released a book, Walking on the Blade.
“I derive great fun and more satisfaction as a sculptor than as a media person,” Liu told the China Daily recently.
Another artist was Yoshin Ogata, born in Miyakonojo, Japan and now living in Italy, Yoshin is a gentle and focused artist.
He sculpts mostly abstract forms with aquatic themes and often large stone pieces for public installation.
After his first exhibition of sculptures at the Shinseisaku-Kyokai, Tokyo in 1970, he moved to London and studied at the British Museum.
He then moved on to the US and Mexico where he went on developing his own research in the local museums and Mayan archaeological sites.