CANBERRA, March 15 (Xinhua) -- The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) unveiled a wax candle sculpture on Friday morning. The sculpture, a man reading on his iPhone, was lit up and will ultimately melt into a puddle.
"This sculpture shows us that art in the 21st century shape shifts, it is not static, it is alive and always changing, reflecting the world in which we live," National Gallery Director Nick Mitzevich said.
The four-meter sculpture, Francesco 2017, is NGA's latest major acquisition by artist Urs Fischer. It depicted a man standing on a refrigerator, his head lowered to look at the iPhone, as a reminder of the common obsession of people nowadays with electronic devices.
Inside the head are candle wicks which are lit and, over time, result in the sculpture's disfigurement and collapse.
Mitzevich said that it is the opposite of classic sculptures like Michelangelo's David, which people usually protect with all measures, as Francesco is wax, not marble, and will disintegrate as it burns to the ground.
"This sculpture is a metaphor to the fact that if you don't look carefully, things will change and pass you by," he said. "Life isn't static. This work has a process of life itself. In some way it is just like the life we lead," he added.
He took an elevator to light up the wax candle. Soon, wax oil began dripping on the ground. The work will be lit each week over six months, and when fully melted it will be recast to its original form.
Mitzevich told journalists that as part of the acquisition process, they also received the cast and the mould and a manual to recast it, so that the gallery can recast the work as many times as it desires.
He said that people are going to watch the death of an art work. "And, just like a phoenix, it rises again," he said.
Francesco is just one sculpture from a series of wax portraits that Swiss-born artist Fischer created since the early 2000s when he began creating wax sculptures. His works have been collected by leading public and private collections around the world.
"His candle portraits have been seen by millions of people, and now Australians can experience this captivating work of art which lures you to watch it morph with every visit to Canberra," Mitzevich said.