Vivid Sydney 2022
Sydney, NSW | Gadigal
Located underneath Salesforce Tower at Sydney Place, Louise Zhang’s artwork ‘Hidden Realms’ shines a neon glow drawing people inside. As a Chinese-Australian, Louise’s heritage bursts to life in her vibrant and engaging work.
‘Hidden Realms’ explores the cultural influence of Louise’s Chinese background in a modern interpretation of the traditional “Guo Hua’ Chinese art. Her vivid art style, usually in the form of paintings, is given new life as a light installation with acrylic, vinyl, and mirrors to create an illuminated 3D painting.
In a homage to Sydney’s Chinatown, and paying respect to the location of Sydney Place on Gadigal Land, the work features symbolic motifs from both cultures in a harmonious, visual fusion. Louise collaborated with First Nations artist, Dennis Golding, to design Indigenous symbolism into the artwork. The Gymea lily, native only to the Sydney region, is positioned at the top of the central emblem, alongside Willow tree branches, a symbol of friendship in Chinse culture. The coming together of these two botanic symbols conveys a deep respect and sense of place.
Working on ‘Hidden Realms’ was a highly collaborative process, harnessing the talents of artist, industrial designer, and fabricators to realise the artistic intent. Starting with Louise’s concept sketches, Tilt translated sketches into renders and then with the final approved design, worked hand-in-hand with the fabricators to craft prototypes in each material.
This next phase was a consultative process, with Tilt overseeing and approving each step. Translating the design to 3D brought challenges that the team worked through, including achieving colour accuracy and intensity in the dichroic vinyl, plus a flawless finish.
The light component of the artwork involved investigation and many refinements – LED lighting proved to be inferior to the potency of the neon light. Matching the shape of Louise’s clouds involved hand-bending the glass tubes and matching to a stencil to achieve the subtle curves.
Working through the challenges and stretching the limitations of these highly specialised materials was an ambitious undertaking that resulted in a visually engaging, 3D experience that matched the artist’s vision. The project pushed the skillset of the team to troubleshoot and craft a result that sets a new benchmark for what is possible to activating public spaces through art and technology.
“I love the idea of turning thoroughfare into a place of meeting”