Work: Position Fixing
Construction: Stainless steel
Size: 3150mm X 7600mm X 130mm
Take forty five Endless Columns by Brancusi, hollow them out and place them in a row in Aotearoa New Zealand. This could be a literal description of Graham Bennett’s Position Fixing. The resultant chain link fence Graham Bennett creates makes for an impressive site on the walkway at Brick Bay. As a narrative of people and place it suggests fragile cultural strings linked together.
Beyond the physical, Bennett’s sculptures deal directly with relationships between people, place and identity, with particular reference to the Pacific region. In large scale public situations and in more intimate gallery spaces, Bennett constantly asks questions about the fragile world we inhabit and the nature of interactions, physical and social.
Position Fixing fascinates viewers by its sheer scale. People start counting the vertical poles. There are 45 of them. And there are over one thousand elements, hand folded prisms, threaded over the towers. In their form, repetition and the threading technique, one cannot go past Brancusi’s iconic column of cast iron ‘beads’. This distinctive shape also has an affinity with the geometric border patterns of the Pacific.
Atop each tower sits a polished crescent. These represent siting devices, a celestial indicator or reference. Graham Bennett often references mapping and navigational aids in his on-going exploration of location in time and place. To that end Position Fixing is carefully placed in a line that references the south/west, north/east trajectory of our islands, a line that extends out across the Pacific through the Tonga Trench. It suggests pathways across the Pacific, Te Moana Nui a Kiwa, that emanate from Aotearoa New Zealand.
Position Fixing with its longitudinal and latitudinal markers each tensioned by a horizon or site line, articulates ideas about marking territory, making claims, movement, mapping and measurement. It talks of repetition or cycles - tidal and celestial - and of perceptions, internal and external.