Stainless spirit out of this world

Stainless spirit out of this world

The grand scale of Rings of Saturn at Melbourne’s Heide Museum of Modern Art takes on even more significance when you learn about the artist.

sculptureRenowned Australian sculptor Inge King AM was born in Germany in 1918, moving to Australia in 1951 and forging her career despite a culturally conservative landscape at the time.

The 89-year-old artist created the 400cm x 600cm x 500cm Rings of Saturn in 2005-2006 as part of her Celestial Series, using stainless steel to create the sense of floating, lightness and reflection that prevails in outerspace.

“Stainless steel is not suitable for every work, but these pieces were inspired by a story on space research I saw on TV and they needed a certain spirit,” Ms King said.

“By using stainless steel with a sanded finish, the piece is very durable and it breaks and reflects the light, so at any time of the day it looks different.”

Ms King makes scale models of her sculptures, but the physical demands of creating the final work requires her to contract out the fabrication.

Using Ms King’s 50cm model of Rings of Saturn, Melbourne fabricator Robert Hook co-ordinated the laser cutting of about 3 tonnes of 5mm grade 316 stainless steel, then welded the two full circles and two semi-circles.

He took the welds down with a 5 inch grinder, then used a polifan disc to smooth them out. He created the linished look with Poly-PTX flap wheels and used a 9 inch, 100 grit sanding disk on the larger surfaces.

Rings of Saturn was commissioned through the Heide Foundation, with support from Lindsay and Paula Fox, and sits in Heide’s Sir Rupert Hamer Garden.

Inge King will hold an exhibition of mostly stainless steel works at Australian Galleries, 35 Derby Street, Collingwood, Victoria in April-May 2008.  Visit their website for more information.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 42.

Inge King, Rings of Saturn 2005-2006
Heide Museum of Modern Art Collection
Commissioned through the Heide Foundation with significant assistance from Lindsay and Paula Fox 2005
Photographer: John Gollings 2007, 2006
Copyright: Inge King & John Gollings