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Juan Ford – ‘From tears to a tsunami’

10 July 2017

Juan Ford

Ever wondered what a giant life-size wave made up of discarded household rubbish might look like?

From tears to a tsunami, the latest commission for Artspace at Realm by Melbourne-based artist Juan Ford, uses reclaimed materials to demonstrate the overwhelming nature and volume of waste in the local community.

The environmentally-conscious artist hopes his large-scale installation will get people thinking about mass consumption and waste, and what invariably ends up in landfill.

“I’m using this sculpture to draw attention to what gets thrown away. We can have our clean streets, but we don’t take account of all that we throw away,” Ford says.

The artwork piece forms a key part of Ford’s ongoing exploration of the relationship between humans and the environment, known as the Anthropocene.

It also allows people to see concepts that are often difficult to visualise.

“Ever since I can remember, I’ve been conscious of the environment. I witnessed a forest being cleared before my eyes when I was young. What used to be a forest with a flowing creek at the back of my house where I would play was one day bulldozed entirely to alleviate potential flooding, but it destroyed a whole ecosystem and was turned into a dead zone, this impacted me as a boy,” Ford recalls.

“We want to dominate the environment, but without it we can’t exist. I think it’s a crime to just rampantly destroy nature, and for what? If I can make people look at what they consume and stop, then at least I can get that message out,” he says.

Ford will be making his piece from various waste and materials collected from across Maroondah between March and June this year.

Things such as disused play equipment, tree branches, discarded barrels and fridge doors, to every conceivable item in between, will form part of the 4.5-metre-high x 7-metre-wide structure.

The project was realised through the help of Council’s depot, waste, park and tree management teams, who, along with Ford, have been collecting debris and “whatever they can get their hands on”, says Ford, to form the giant installation.

“I want to create the impression of a wave that envelops the viewer,” continues Ford, who is busily working on the structure in time for its unveiling on 29 June.

From tears to a tsunami will be on display from Friday 7 July to Sunday 20 August at ArtSpace at Realm, 179 Maroondah Highway, Ringwood. An official opening will be held on Saturday 22 July, from 2pm to 4pm. For more information, visit the Arts in Maroondah website or phone 1300 88 22 33.

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