Thursday, January 10, 2008

Yellow Streak

Approach This At Your Own Peril

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Ask any Melburnian what the Yellow Peril is, and they'll grin and tell you it's a huge yellow sculpture that has always generated controversy.


Officially, the sculpture by Ron Robertson-Swann is called "Vault". But because us Melbourne folk love nicknames and we love irreverence, we christened it the Yellow Peril even before the sculptor had given it an official title.


The concept emerged in 1978, but it was apparently two years before Robertson-Swann decided to christen it "Vault". However, workmen who put the whole thing together began to refer to it as "Steelhenge".


These photographs were taken some months ago, on an early spring afternoon. This last shot (above) was taken inside the sculpture, to give you a worm's-eye view of the street alongside. If you ask me, the sculpture could either be an oversized Rubik's puzzle, a child's rendering of the Apollo XI lunar module, or a manic pack of giant monochrome cards. Have a look at the shots and let me know what you think.

27 comments:

Ornery's Wife said...

It is a really interesting structure/sculpture. Each of your photos increase my longing to visit your fine city! It looks like a fun place to take portraits!
TM

Queen of My Domain said...

It's a very interesting sculpture but the yellow just screams at you. I think I like the close up shots you have where your wondering what it is your looking at.

lime said...

irreverence and nicknames are favored? i think i should move to melbourne!

maybe i'll camp out under yellow peril while i look for a place to rent. i think it's fun and inviting since you could walk under and around it. i have to admit i'd be tempted to climb on it too so i could slide down the slope. but that's me.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

It's funny how the workers can cut through the hype and give it a name that really describes it. I had a student once, a Navy Chief who was taking college classes just before getting out of the Navy. He asked me if going to college would mean that he would begin too appreciate modern art. I told him that, at the very least, he should learn what it is and learn to explain WHY he thinks it's crap. You never know. Maybe he'll open his mind and see things a bit differently.

kate said...

At first glance, I figured it was connected with IKEA. The colour did it for me.

Craver Vii said...

It's just like kids to play with the box and forget the toy.

I suppose it can look as if the sculptor shipped his work inside a yellow crate and the workers reassembled the container, forgetting the artwork.

Call me crazy, but I like it.

Neva said...

I love the wa you described this! Looks like a lot of yellow steel to me!

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I think some Australian tax payers have a refund coming!

Who paid for that "Vault?"

Digital Flower Pictures said...

The fact that you could think that it could several things makes me think it is agood piece of art. I like it!

Hammer said...

I would think it would make a good bus shelter.

imac said...

Nice photos and good Y,
but i go with Hammer on this "a bus shelter".

Have you seen my Y

mrsnesbitt said...

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I think this had an influence on the London Olympic logo! 2012 was it?
I dread to think!


Great yellow D.
Dx

Jo Beaufoix said...

Hi David. Sorry I've not been around for a while. I've been on catch up(and still am.)
Just thought I'd pop in and say hi.
I think the vault looks like an enormous piece of origami.
Very, erm, attractive. ;)

leslie said...

Steelhenge, origami, bus shelter...all are right on. I think it'd make a great place for the homeless, maybe construct some lockers inside it, and a portable fire pit. ;D

katherine. said...

I like the photos far better than the actual art.

Melinda said...

I am not a big fan of abstract sculpture though I love other forms. Have you ever made it to Loveland, Colorado's annual sculpture show held every year in August? SOME WONDERFUL pieces of work there. I have many beautiful photographs.....I have been meaning to post some....perhaps I will!

Thanks for your visit too by the way!

Autumn said...

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I suppose. At least it makes for an interesting subject to photograph....

KaiBlueCreations said...

I always wonder about pieces of art like this David.. It raises questions like..* In 2000 years, I wonder when the dig it up..what the people will think of it then? like the pyramids..they'll be guessing what it is.
interesting post..
PEace, Kai

dot said...

It's unique, that's for sure. I enjoy seeing things that are "different".

Janice Thomson said...

I love a lot of modern sculpture like Henry Moore's for instance but this one isn't my cup of tea.

Lynda Lehmann said...

I think that to me, it's a "Steelhenge." A monument to man's (sometimes grand, sometimes absurd) aspirations!

Sniz said...

I agree with your pack of cards comment. I love the things I see and learn when I visit here.

Pope Terry said...

Post modern bus stop...

Hyde DP said...

the angular nature doesn't do it for me either; i prefer shapelier sculpture. I used the phrase "yellow peril" once in a poem and was told it was a "racial slur". context is everything or should be.

evlahos said...

very interesting construction. But for sure wonderful theme to capture

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

I really like it.

cube said...

I think I'd like it better without the screaming-banshee yellow paint.

And Steelhenge is better than Vault.