Argentinian artist Lucia Pacenza’s Arch of the Sun.

Argentinian artist Lucia Pacenza’s Arch of the Sun. Photo by Stuart Hay

Exhibition Space: Sculptures by the lake

Nestled among undulating banks of grassy woodland on the southern side of the ANU campus sits a little-known gem, as SIMON JENKINS reports.

The International Sculpture Park, lying between Old Canberra House and the shore of Lake Burley Griffin, contains half a dozen works installed over the past 15 years. The sculptures have a uniquely symbiotic relationship with their local environment, sharing the landscape with more than 400 species of endangered grasses.

The sculpture park is part of the ANU art collection but unlike its cousins – art works located in courtyards, public foyers, lawns and gardens across campus – its camouflaged location produces a uniquely mysterious, ‘untouched’ and serene feel.

Sitting just metres from the Crawford School of Public Policy, the park looks like any other location around Lake Burley Griffin – a mixture of native long grasses interspersed with old growth eucalypts. On closer inspection the sculptures, which seem to be hidden away as if they are playing ‘hide-n-seek’, suddenly jump out as if they have been waiting to be discovered.

The park’s most recent acquisition, UK artist Chris Drury’s installation The Way of Trees, Earth and Water, was created on site in 2013.

The work is made up of four eucalyptus trees encircling a mound of red earth and stone, that will eventually overshadow the work as the earth gradually washes away in the wind and rain.