The vast twisting accordion-shaped sculpture reconfigures the heritage escalators that once stood there in a stitched form. Suspended between two ends of the building, Interloop measures more than fifty metres in length, weighs over five tonnes, and weaves in 244 wooden treads and four combs from the original escalators. Whilst paying homage to the past, it also, simultaneously, looks forward to the future.
The installation was part of the historic wooden escalators which served the Wynyard Station — in the heart of Sydney cbd — for more than eight decades . Now the iconic timber-structure has been reborn as part of a five-tonne floating sculpture titled Interloop.
Photo: Josh Raymond
The hovering sculpture at Wynyard loops together two pairs of reconfigured heritage escalators measuring more than 50 metres — in length– and incorporating 244 wooden escalator treads and 4 escalator combs hovering above the escalators that travel underground from York Street.
“Connecting yesterday and tomorrow, ‘Interloop’ interrogates the conceptual and material boundaries between art and architecture”.
Designer a Chris Fox, a senior lecturer in art processes and architecture in the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning commented:
“It is a physical re-interpretation of the historic wooden-stepped Wynyard escalators initially built in 1931, that re-purposes the hardwood from the heritage treads of now retired escalators, into a sculpture weighing over five tonnes.”
Wynyard Station, Sydney: Interloop, by artist Chris Fox, Photo: Josh Raymond
Photo: Josh Raymond
First installed of the escalator in the station was in 1931, the historic timber-escalators – which have served Sydney’s commuters for over eight decades – held a sense of time, journeys, and travel before they were removed this year. Interloop resembles, in part, the original escalators: important for Fox is creating an otherworldly space above people’s heads.
The artwork explores the idea that people are stationary on an escalator whilst also travelling, allowing for a moment of pause that occurs mid-motion. The sculpture resonates with people in this state, referencing all those journeys that have passed and are now interlooping back.
Taking six months to design and engineer, the sculpture took 12 weeks to fabricate with over a kilometre of welding, before an intensive 48-hour installation period. Interloop is built from high strength marine grade aluminium and suspended via new steel beams installed into Wynyard Station. The wooden treads from the original escalators have been refastened to the accordion like aluminium surface.
Chris playfully explored the technical and conceptual grammar of architecture and construction by altering sites through installation, object and drawing. He has exhibited in numerous solo, group and collaborative exhibitions in Australia, the USA and Europe, with an established sculptural practice of large-scale public and private commissioned artworks.
Interloop floats above the heads of commuters as they travel on the escalators linking York Street to the main concourse level of Wynyard Station. With the re-purposing of the wooden treads the sculpture aims to evoke memories of passengers and modes of travel from the past while conjuring complimentary ideas of journey and travel, start and finish, here and there, as well as past and future.
A major milestone for Sydney and for Transport for NSW, who commissioned the large-scale sculptural project, Interloop provides an important legacy, helping to maintain and celebrate the historic identity of the city, while also looking to its future.
Photo: Josh Raymond.