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Australian artist Jonathan Zawada transforms the Sydney Opera House for Vivid Sydney
Metamathemagical by Jonathan Zawada. Courtesy of Sydney Opera House.

SYDNEY.- A 3D light sculpture housed within the iconic Sails of the Sydney Opera House will illuminate Utzon’s masterpiece from 6pm on Friday May 25 for Vivid Sydney, the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas. Award-winning Australian artist Jonathan Zawada has created Metamathemagical – a specially commissioned, site-specific artwork that will transform the World Heritage-listed masterpiece into a digital light sculpture inspired by Australian motifs across science, nature and culture.

Zawada is a leading artist with a long history of collaborating with top music acts such as Flume, The Presets, Mark Pritchard and Moses Sumney. He is uniquely suited to bring the Sails to life for Vivid Sydney, when the entirety of the Opera House is taken over by incredible music for Vivid LIVE including Solange, Mazzy Star, Ice Cube and DREAMS.

Ten years ago, Brian Eno, the legendary British artist and inaugural curator of ‘Luminous’ – now Vivid LIVE – became the first artist to Light the Sails of the Opera House. He considered his artwork ‘77 million paintings’, projected onto the Opera House in 2009, as ‘visual music’ and paved the way for spectacular artworks to come, including the animated First Nations collaboration Songlines in 2016 and Ash Bolland & Amon Tobin’s Audio Creatures in 2017.

In Metamathemagical, Zawada’s use of cutting-edge technology challenges our understanding of the possibilities of projection. Taking the unique three-dimensional form of the Opera House as a starting point, the artwork explores metaphysical themes through a series of sculptural compositions that distort and mutate in continuous motion. Inspired by the dual concepts of cosmic creation and human creativity, Zawada uses bold neon colour and striking geometric designs to create captivating scenes comprised of everyday objects and natural specimens that evolve, dissolve and metamorphose.

Jonathan Zawada, Curator of Metamathemagical, says: “Interacting with an icon as beautiful as the Sydney Opera House really feels like a once in a lifetime opportunity. Metamathemagical explores the concept of creation and the creative process, both on an individual, personal level, but also a cosmic and environmental one. I’ve taken inspiration from the natural world around us and the synthetic world of artificial materials, substances and textures. The Opera House is a completely unique piece of geometry so rather than simply thinking of it as a two-dimensional surface to project onto, I created Metamathemagical as a 3D work from the very start using open source software to create many of the colours and textures.”

Ben Marshall, Curator of Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House, says: “10 years ago Brian Eno’s inspired vision first filled the Sails of the Opera House with art. This year, it is a delight to usher in the wild imagination of internationally lauded Australian artist Jonathan Zawada. Metamathemagical transfigures Utzon’s masterpiece into a dazzlingly hyperreal kinetic sculpture, rippling out from Bennelong Point across the entire city and in beautiful synchronicity with the ambitious, rigorous music event it shelters.”

Jonathan Zawada’s Metamathemagical is co-curated by the Sydney Opera House and Destination NSW for Vivid Sydney and will light up the Sails every night 6pm-11pm from 25 May to 16 June. There will be audio-described tours of the Sails for visually-impaired patrons on selected evenings during the festival. For those unable to attend Lighting of the Sails in person, the Sydney Opera House will once again stream the full broadcast live from the Sydney Opera House Facebook page on Friday 25 May, 2018.

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