Barossa Sculpture Park

contemporary sculpture in stone

International Sculpture Symposium in natural stone (granite) in  1 Sept / 14 October 2008


The Region:    The Barossa is South Australia's foremost wine region. It is a valley covered in vineyards surrounded by bare hills with a backdrop of natural Australian bush land. It consists of three towns and several small hamlets. The Barossa is 70 km north-east of Adelaide (International Airport), South Australia's Capital city.


The site :         Barossa Sculpture Park, Mengler Hill,

                        Tanunda, Barossa, South Australia.

                        There are nine sculptures in marble and granite from the 1988 Symposium.

The works are abstract or very abstracted figurative reflecting on the site, the environment and the sculptor's relationship with the Barossa community.


The sculptors: sculptors working in granite by direct-carving. Their designs should reflect the Barossa environment and the ambience of the Barossa Hills; the works will be carved in-situ and remain on the site.

The Time:        The Symposium will be for 6 weeks 1 Sept. to 14 Oct. The season is Spring.

The Stone:      The blocks of Granite already on site range from 2.4m to 3m, there is South Australian Black Granite and Sienna Granite (brown).

Equipment:      Aircompressors and hoses will be supplied, the sculptors have to bring their own tools.









Symposium update

Eight sculptors have been invited.They are:

Patrice Belin - France

Roger Loos - USA

Hiroshi Miyauchi - Japan

Dan Michael Archer- UK

Viktor Kalinowski - Australia

Kevin Free - Australia

Lode Tibos - Belgium

Omar Toussoun - Egypt


The Symposium

Plato created the idea of a symposium as a meeting of like-minded people, over a given period of time, for dialogue on a specific subject.

At the end of the symposium a work or series of works are published.

This dialogue creates an opportunity for new ideas, and new expressions of these ideas, to emerge. It allows for the use of different techniques and skills,  and a cohesive approach to the topic. It is an important factor in professional development.


The Sculpture Symposium

Sculptor Karl Prantle from Vienna developed this idea when he organised the 1st Sculpture Symposium in 1959, held in a disused quarry at St Margareten, Austria. Since then many variations on this theme have taken place, and continue to take place, worldwide.


Symposia have since taken place across Europe, notably in Carrara, France, Bulgaria, in Israel, Egypt, Japan, and more recently in Australia, Taiwan, China, and South Korea. Scandinavia has a long history of symposia in granite. (1)


Sculptors in stone are invited to carve a site specific work over six weeks from a block of local natural stone. The sculptures remain on the site, which is maintained by the host organisation, and is accessible free of charge to all members of the public. The works become a valuable community asset.


The Host :

The host covers all expenses: travel, a large block of stone, accommodation, food, local transport, office backup, power and some equipment.

Good publicity is given to the symposium. This benefits the individual sculptors as well as the organisation.

The host community welcomes the sculptors and invites them to local functions, dinners, outings etc.


The sculptors:

The sculptors gain experience in working on a large piece of sculpture not normally possible in their home studio. As opposed to a commission where artists are answerable to clients, in a symposium the sculptors are free to express and create their work without judging panels or artistic restrictions.

They also meet other artists to exchange ideas on the creative process. They observe different approaches to tackling the stone. They formulate their sculptural ideas to the visiting public.

They gain rapport with a rural community in another State or Country quite different from their own. Their work is acknowledged in all publications and publicity

material issued by the hosts.


Public reaction is appreciated by artists accustomed to working alone in their studios. Whittier says, "The sculptures mean more to people than a public commission created in somebody's studio and just plopped down. Many people have a hostility for public art because they feel it is imposed on them and they don't know who has done it or why. In a symposium, people ask questions, they walk around it. Sculptors develop little fan clubs of people following their work. They encourage us-they are participating, they respect us for the hard work." Schuerch says, "People watch the whole development and they're thrilled with it. It's fun to share in their enthusiasm. It reminds you of the magic that is artŠArt isn't really an object, it is that moment of contact when someone sees your work, and is really touched by it. The symposium opens people to art." Working in public during a limited period can be a challenge and an inspiration. Allan Farr warns, "A symposium is about work: long, hard, dusty, and brutal." But Schuerch adds, "Knowing that you have a short time changes what you do. I try to push myself. It frees me up creatively ( 2)


The Visiting Public

During the six weeks long symposium, members of the public are free to visit the site. They watch the sculptors at work, observe the development of the sculpture, ask questions and gain rapport with the artists. Life-long friendships are made this way. During this time visitors from Adelaide, statewide and nationwide will be drawn to Menglers Hill.


The Sponsors

·       Local government supports the event with site, insurance, administration and grants.

·       Industry sponsors form a working partnership with the organisers. They underwrite specific expenses, provide in-kind technical support, 

They gain to be able to show their equipment and materials, they demonstrate good community liaison and counteract some bad feeling people may have about their industry or business.

At Sprimont in Belgium, the symposium is sponsored by the local stone industry (Black Petit Granit) and the Musée de la Pierre, the stone museum. One of their stated aims is to take the focus off of the environmental damage that quarries are associated with, and to substitute for it an image of their stone as aligned with artistic production and cultural events. In a quarry that has been continuously producing since 1880, the yearly symposia are a manifestation of local pride and the creation of an extraordinary event out of something that had become everyday practice. ( 3)

·       Arts funding bodies assist with grants for travel, accommodation & living expenses, artists’ fees and documentation.

·       Tourism and Travel industry is asked to contribute to the fares. They gain by being part of the publicity campaign staged and the publicity generated by the symposium.

The Hosting Community

As the symposium is over an extended period, the event becomes integrated into the people’s lives.

·       Workers from the sponsoring companies will visit.

·       Not only arts oriented people will check out what is happening on this hill.

·       Journalists and photographers will flock to the site.

·       The sculptors meet the community in the pub over a beer.

·       Artists’ talks are organised to learn more about the sculptor’s lives, the country they are coming from and other work they have done to date. These could be at the various clubs ( Rotary. Kiwanis, Lions, Soroptimists etc) or at a specific venue e.g. the Barossa Regional Gallery.




(1, 2, 3,)  ISC website Symposium

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