Client: The Egg Opera House
Location: Beijing, China
Completion date: 2007
The Egg Opera House
The organizers of the Olympic Games in Beijing, through an international jury, invited sculptors for certain locations in the urban environment, linked with emblematic places for the Games. The organizers had already chosen the sites for the works of the 19 invited sculptors in the center of Beijing, around the cultural and media buildings, erected for the Olympics. My sculpture had to be situated in a water area outside the new opera theatre, known as “The Egg”, designed by the French architectural association Paul Andrew, which also designed the new opera theatre in Shanghai, completed in 2004.
In this work, the relationships with the three natural elements - wind, fire and water - are depicted in different ways. Fire in this case is the inspiration for the creation of this “fiery ballerina”; the concrete inspiring element of the fire as a totality of events being the “dance” contained in the flames – a dance that becomes more dynamic and more expressive with the effects of wind. It was this dance between fire and wind that formed the basis for the creation of this sculpture. When a person looks into a burning fire for a long time, his imagination rambles, and in the flames he might see different things. To be able to dance with the wind, this fiery ballerina must be well balanced with regard to the earth’s gravitation and against the wind. The windward and leeward movements must be properly calculated, the wind alternatively blows or is caught, and all this subjected to the idea of an ethereal sculpture which touches the earth only at one point, connoting what its common between the fire and the ballerina.
The space around the new Egg opera theatre is extremely suitable as a site for this sculpture for three main reasons:
1. Dance as a theme is related to the activities of the opera theatre and the performances in it in general.
2. The large area of the water surface allows the wind free access to the sculpture for its dance.
3. The water area around the opera theatre, acting as a natural mirror, enhances the work’s impact, by making it seem more unreal with its dancing reflections.
The sculpture is conceived and executed in duralumin, a material used in aircraft construction, to make it light and strong, and cause it to react even to the slightest puff of wind. It is a kinetic sculpture, aluminum, 300 x 120 x 90 cm. The sculpture, Dance, already won a competition in Sydney, Australia in 1999 and first prize at the Shanghai biennial Art & Science in 2007. Dance is magic that renders a moment eternal, making man happier, selfless, free of dogmas. The concise linear form is a reflection of the sunlight pouring over this silhouette.