Artist: Sorel Etrog
In many ways the addition of Sorel Etrog's The
King and Queen to the Odette Sculpture Park marks a true moment of
"coronation" for the city's internationally recognized waterfront
collection. The work of this Romanian born artist speaks very specifically to
our city, reflecting passions and ideas that are very close to home for many of
Etrog's sculpture probes the relationship between
man and machinery and attempts to illustrate an expressive intersection between
the individual and industrialism. The machinery of the manufacturer becomes the
tools of the artist. Steel plating, sheet metal, bolts, rivets and hinges are
prominently featured in this work of industrial art, illustrating contact,
tension and articulation.
In our city this theme expands, stressing perhaps that
all work is at some level artistic. The King and Queen was constructed in
Windsor at DeMonte Fabrication Inc. Though the team at DeMonte are usually
occupied with projects for the construction and automotive industries, Etrog
himself observed that their skill with his piece was "as good as anywhere
I have ever worked in the world."
King and Queen can be seen as the crowning piece for
the Odette Sculpture Park simply because it speaks so directly to our
city's industrial experience, our faith in craftsmanship, and our belief
that we are all able to bend, shape and connect the materials of our daily
lives into works of lasting expression.
About Sorel Etrog
Arguably the most critically celebrated Canadian sculptor alive today,
Etrog's impressive and multi-faceted career has spanned more than 40 years.
In that time he has been prolific as a sculptor, a painter, an illustrator, a
poet and a filmmaker. His work has been displayed at major international
galleries around the world from Israel to Singapore, from India to Switzerland.
In North America his position is secure in many of the most prestigious private
and public collections, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the
Museum of Modern Art in New York City, as well as the National Gallery of
Canada in Ottawa and Le Musee des Beaux Arts in Montreal.
For decades Etrog's sculpture has played an important role in the
development of the Canadian Arts. In 1988, he was commissioned to represent
Canada with a sculpture for the Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. In
1994, the Government of Canada donated the sculpture Sunbird to Normandy,
France, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the liberation by Canadian
forces. In 1967, Etrog was commissioned by Expo in Montreal to create two large
sculptures for the World's Fair and in 1968 he was asked to create the
small statuettes that would serve as the Canadian Film Awards. Though these
awards are now more famously known as "The Genies," they were
originally called "Etrogs."
Throughout his career Etrog has been closely associated with many of the
twentieth century's greatest thinkers and artists. He has collaborated with
distinguished international literary figures Samuel Beckett, and Eugene Ionesco
and also maintained a close working relationship with Canada's famed
communication theorist Marshall McLuhan. In 1995 Etrog was named a Member of
the Order of Canada and in 1996 was appointed Chevalier of Arts and Letters by
the Government of France.