Takeshi Tanabe set to pierce the Night Sky at Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe with a Major Light Installation


Sculpture by the Sea is set to install a major light installation to Perth’s night sky as part of Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2023, which returns from 3 – 20 March.

The artwork is the creation of Takeshi Tanabe, one of Japan’s most highly regarded senior artists, who is announced today as the Tourism Western Australia Invited International Artist for 2023.

‘Between Sky and Earth (Exchanging Messages)’ is a penetrating light artwork that shines directly upwards 2km into the night sky from the end of the groyne at Cottesloe beach.

As the sun sinks below the iconic Cottesloe beach horizon and the twilight sky darkens each night during the exhibition, ‘Between Sky and Earth (Exchanging Messages)’ will shine into the sky, inviting visitors to enjoy the beauty of the Indian Ocean coastline and one-of-a-kind art exhibition well into the evening. 

In collaboration with the Town of Cottesloe, at 7:45pm. 8:15pm and 8:45pm each evening all lights on the south beach and parkland of Cottesloe beach and the groyne will be turned off for 30 seconds when the light sculpture will also be turned off, allowing visitors to watch the speed of light in the pitch black night sky as the artwork travels 2km vertically into the night sky when the artwork is turned back on. Each night the artwork will be turned off shortly after 11pm as the last diners are leaving the restaurants of Cottesloe beach.

Tanabe said, “It is a great honour to be able to create this work for Cottesloe. I want to create a monument to mankind’s desire to convey a message from the earth to the universe, and an expression of our own questioning of the future of mankind. I hope that the viewer who gazes at the night sky with this work will have an opportunity to question the nature of our existence on the earth.”

Founding Director of Sculpture by the SeaDavid Handley, said, “For many years Takeshi Tanabe and I have wanted to install one of his major light art installations on the groyne at Cottesloe Beach. The support of Tourism WA has made this possible.  It will be fascinating to follow the light 2km up into the night sky.”

Takeshi Tanabe is one of Japan’s most highly regarded artists. He has exhibited in major solo and group exhibitions in Japan and around the world and is represented in significant collections across the globe. Tanabe has exhibited his carved granite sculptures several times at Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe and Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi and has long dreamed of bringing a light installation to Cottesloe beach. The artist’s previous light installation works are on permanent public display in Japan and Taiwan.

Tourism WA has supported the Invited International Artist program since 2016, facilitating acclaimed international artists to exhibit major works on the shores of Cottesloe Beach for the enjoyment of Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe visitors. In 2022, the program briefly pivoted to support Perth-based collective Heavy Duty to exhibit the hugely popular ‘Beach Goals’ due to Covid-19 border closures. 

Tanabe will join other prominent sculptors invited in previous years including Zadok Ben-David (Israel), Sir Tony Cragg (England), Li Wei and Zhan Wang (China), Chris Booth (New Zealand) and kinetic sculptors Phil Price (New Zealand) and Haruyuki Uchida (Japan). 

Tourism Minister Roger Cook said, “Sculpture by the Sea is a popular event that attracts thousands of visitors each year to Perth’s iconic Cottesloe Beach.

“The Western Australian Government, through Tourism WA, is honoured to host an artist as renowned as Takeshi Tanabe as this year’s Invited International Artist, as we celebrate the upcoming return of direct flights between Japan and Perth later this year.

“Takeshi Tanabe’s unique light monument will perfectly showcase WA’s iconic Cottesloe Beach and our spectacular coastline to the world, and we expect it to be a popular attraction at this year’s Sculpture by the Sea.

“I encourage West Australians to head down and view all the world-class works on display from more than 70 artists as part of Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe when the free exhibition returns to our shores in March.”

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe is supported by the WA Government, through Tourism WA, alongside Lotterywest.

One of Perth’s largest free public events, Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe attracts an estimated 200,000 local, interstate and international visitors to the iconic beach for an extended summer each March.

In 2023, over 70 artists from 12 countries will showcase their work across the 18-day exhibition, including sculptors from Japan, New Zealand, USA and Switzerland. All Australian States and Territories will be represented, with 28 sculptors from Western Australia set to highlight the State’s wealth of artistic talent. 

In addition to Tanabe, leading Australian and international sculptors will be exhibiting at this year’s exhibition, including Richard Goodwin (NSW), Stephen King (NSW), Tony Jones (WA), Kristof Kintera (Czech Republic), Hu Tung Min (Taiwan), Wataru Hamasaka (Japan – whose work in last year’s Cottesloe exhibition was purchased for the MONA Collection in Tasmania), Hannah Kidd (New Zealand), Haruyuki Uchida (Japan) and Kozo Nishino (Japan). This year, Peter Lundberg (USA), Takahiro Hirata (Japan) and Greg Johns (South Australia) will be welcomed into the Decade Club, which recognises the artists who have exhibited at Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe ten or more times.

Sculpture by the Sea will also present the inaugural Perth Sculpture Conference from 8 – 9 March 2023 at the State Library of Western Australia, with New York’s Storm King Art Center, widely regarded as the most important public sculpture park in the world, as International Presenting Partner. The conference is also presented in partnership with local Western Australian organisation DADAA (Disability in the Arts Disadvantage in the Arts).

The 19th annual Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe runs from 3 – 20 March 2023. 

Press Release

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