Jonathan Jones is the winner of Kaldor Public Art Projects’ Your Very Good Idea. The project, announced earlier this year is a celebration of its 45th anniversary, and the competition was the first open call-out to artists hosted by the non-profit organisation.
Led by one of Sydney’s most ardent art philanthropists John Kaldor, Kaldor Public Art Projects has been responsible for a host of vanguard and experiential art projects in public spaces. Beginning with Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s monumental Wrapped Coast – One Million Square Feet, Little Bay, Sydney in 1969, projects have included incredible outdoor pieces by international art stars Sol LeWitt, Jeff Koons and John Baldessari. Most recently, Kaldor brought the 13 Rooms living sculpture spectacle to Pier 2/3 in Walsh Bay, and Tino Sehgal to the Art Gallery of NSW.
Your Very Good Idea however, has focused on strictly local Australian talent. The winning idea by Jones – a Sydney-based Aboriginal artist – will reimagine the historic Garden Palace that once stood in the Botanic Gardens as a part of the Sydney International Exhibition in 1879. The great structure was mysteriously burnt to the ground, and destroyed with it was a cache of indigenous cultural artefacts. The temporal piece, entitled barrangal dyara (skin and bones), will explore the power of memory and reveal some of the histories that were lost through performance and spoken word.
Jones’ idea was a unanimous choice for a panel of judges that included Kaldor himself, as well as Artspace executive director Alexie Glass-Kantor, Artangel London co-director James Lingwood, New York Public Art Fund director Nicholas Baume, Art Gallery of South Australia director Nick Mitzevich and more. Jones’ project will be presented in the Botanic Gardens in 2016.