King and Queen, 1998
Painted steel, 290 x 310 x 225 centimetres
In many ways, the addition of Sorel Etrog's King and Queen to the 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 us.
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. 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 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. Etrog was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1995 and was appointed Chevalier of Arts and Letters by the Government of France in 1996.