A NEW CREATION HAS RECENTLY TAKEN SHAPE IN UMHLANGA – ONE THAT IS TURNING HEADS AND GETTING PEOPLE TALKING. LEE CURRIE MEETS THE MAN WHO KNOWS HOW TO BEND INDUSTRIAL SIZED STEEL I-BEAMS INTO CIRCLES
It’s a stunning steel creation of circles, spheres and arcs, measuring a massive 13m by 19m and standing 6,5m high. Its name? Nexus. The artist? Brendon Edwards. The place? The stylish Park Square in uMhlanga.
Brendon lives on a small farm in the Midlands, where he designed and constructed the “creation” over four months. Nexus is an engineering feat created by bending the steel beams with a crane truck and winch and then welding each beam together piece by piece. It goes without saying that transporting the sculpture from the Midlands to uMhlanga was in itself a massive undertaking. He had to take it apart in sections then put it back together in situ. Brendon encapsulated what his sculpture – entitled Nexus – represented.
“Spheres, circles and arcs are ubiquitous in human history and in everyday experiences both emotively and intellectually. The very instruments with which we perceive our physical world (our eyes) are circular, as are the images – the moon, the sun, the planets and the many revolutions of time, seasons and life itself.”
Earlier this year Brendon was tasked to create a Unity Arch for Northwood High School. It was organised by the classes of 89 to commemorate the merging between Northlands and Beachwood in 1990. A Northlands old boy himself, Brendon shared the thinking behind his design. “The arch is a representation of unity for Northlands and Beachwood and also a symbolic metaphor for what we need as a country, both individually and collectively. The colour of steel is initially blue and becomes brown/orange through a process of time. This is representative of past, present and future. Steel is also strong but flexible which is also representative of what the learners need to be in our complex society.”
Brendon’s unique talent is evident in establishments throughout South Africa and even overseas. One of his works he is particularly proud of is a sculpture entitled Quark situated outside the prestigious Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg.
“Quarks are elementary particles that constitute matter. Basically they’re invisible but combine to form atoms which then make our world visible,” he explains. Brendon’s studies included philosophy with a special interest in aesthetics, and he describes his art as being influenced by philosophy, music, the golden ratio and cosmology.
“I try to make my work timeless and sophisticated as in the words of Leonardo da Vinci, Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. I try to take complex questions or matters that are more than often invisible and represent them in an art form.”
Brendon is currently creating something he has never tried before: “I’ve always been a fan of Jackson Pollack and wanted to use his influence in a sculptural form. So I made a huge canvas out of lead, and dripped copper brass on to the lead. Because these materials melt at a much higher point than the lead, it actually melts into the lead. I’m very excited about this as it forms a bridge between painting and sculpture and has a three dimensional effect to a two dimensional piece.”
What will it look like? Watch this space.