This commission for the UTS Law School builds upon two previous sculptural installations by artist Richard Goodwin that, in the tradition of Arte Povera, use clothing as a metaphor for the historical body – the Corvette Memorial (Garden Island, 1995) in which he used sailor’s uniforms from WWII and a site specific installation at the Orange Regional Gallery (Orange, 1992) in which he used local residents’ clothing.
The site-specific installation features vestments donated by some of Australia’s most distinguished barristers and judges. The wigs and silks, preserved in nitrogen gas, represent the head and the body, articulating the role played by the intellect and the emotions in the ‘play of the law’.
Articles 26 and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are cast into the adjacent concrete. Former Dean of Law, Associate Professor David Barker, noted that these articles held special significance: “In a time when Australia is going through a period of change, when the decisions of the High Court are being challenged on political grounds and the status of the Judiciary is being questioned, it is important for us to remember that these rights which reflect the values of the community must be respected.”
Richard Goodwin was born in Sydney in 1953. Goodwin is a Sydney-based artist, architect, and academic whose practice encompasses art, architecture, urban design, performance, installation and public art. His academic research articulates the plasticity of cities and urban spaces, and the role of art practice in town planning. In 1996 Goodwin established the Porosity Studio at the College of Fine Arts within the University of New South Wales, where he currently holds the position of Professor of Fine Arts and Design.
Goodwin’s architectural practice postulates parasitic connections between private and public space, including recent works Cope Street Parasite and Deepdene Parasite. Goodwin has also completed several public structures including motorway barriers and four pedestrian bridges, one of which was constructed for the Olympic Games precinct in Sydney 2000.
His work has been included in three Venice Biennales for Architecture and attracted several awards, including The National Sculpture Award (1985), The Sculpture by the Sea Prize (2003), Helen Lempriere Award (2004), the Blackett Award for Architecture in (2004), and the Wynne Prize from the Art Gallery of NSW (2011).
His artwork is held in major collections including the Art Gallery of NSW, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Nuremburg Museum, Germany; Allen, Allen & Hemsley, Sydney; Ararat Gallery; Artbank, Sydney; Costain Collection, Melbourne; Darwin Institute of Technology; Hyatt Hotel, Melbourne; Mildura Arts Centre; Museum of Contemporary Art, Brisbane; Orange Regional Gallery; Wollongong City Gallery; Auckland City Gallery, New Zealand; New England Regional Art Museum, Benalla Regional Gallery, National War Museum, Canberra.