Titled Transformer, the sculpture pays homage to its urban surroundings – the historic Union Knitting Mills and the Hoffman Brickworks in Moreland. As a sculpture, Transformer is playful and mysterious, suggestive of actual industry, while hinting at a science fiction fantasy: What is this machine in aid of?
In the same spirit, members of the local community have placed many everyday objects along the Upfield Bike Path, in an attempt to humanise the surroundings, but also to identify with it and perhaps offer delight and connection to other passers-by. Bike helmets have been transformed into planter pots, bicycle wheels fixed to rail-side fences become colourful totems. Tiny pavement tiles bearing images of ants are discovered by chance while walking.
The Transformer sculpture also utilises everyday objects to create a welcoming presence and an acknowledgement of Coburg’s urban precinct. The central orange ovoid of the sculpture is taken from a children’s outdoor ball game and suggests the insulators of the nearby Substation No.33, as well as the power lines of the railway overhead. This central form is held by a yellow frame derived from a stand for dress-up wigs; the pole beacon atop the sculpture, a scaled-up version of a knitting needle, echoing the adjacent historic art deco Union Knitting Mills.
DJ Projects have fabricated the sculpture in steel. It stands at 6.7 metres in height and rises from a circular brick base that forms a pattern of concentric rings which allude to the ripple effect of water; a symbol to mark the approximate halfway point between Moonee Ponds Creek and Merri Creek. The bricks have been custom glazed in black and white, paying homage to the historic Hoffman Brickworks in nearby Brunswick, one of the first mechanical brickworks in Australia, established in late 1880’s, purported to have produced a staggering 40 million bricks per year.
Transformer’s colours are those of energy itself, orange and yellow: the sun, heat, and the yolk of an egg. Suggestive of the origins of life, heat and potential. These colours are also incorporated into the schema of the newly completed railway works, platform safety markers and the new side guards on the overhead rail lines.
The overall skyward thrust of the piece inspires feelings of buoyancy and optimism. Transformer will become a symbol of the life and energy of this busy precinct.
Louise Paramor is well known for her large-scale public art commissions, which often combine formal concerns with found objects and a pop-inspired sensibility. A resident of the City of Moreland, Paramor has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally and is held in numerous collections throughout Australia.
Transformer was commissioned by the Level Crossing Removal Project for the Bell to Moreland Project
Videography by Yask Desai
Painted mild steel, brickwork, LED lighting
The Level Crossing Removal Project
Moreland Station, Melbourne