Paul Sloan – Pigeon
We’re thrilled to see that Paul Sloan’s majestic, mirrored pigeon has become an overnight icon for South Australia! The 2.3 m tall sculpture, which was unveiled on 6 November, has been drawing record crowds to Adelaide’s Rundle Mall.
Simply titled ‘Pigeon’, the striking work sits in good company close to Bert Flugelman’s ‘Spheres’ and Lyndon Dadswell’s ‘Progress.’
‘Pigeon’ is the world’s first large-scale, permanent public artwork of the internationally omnipresent bird. It is also Paul’s first major public art work.
Commissioned in 2019 as part of the City of Adelaide’s Gawler Place Upgrade, it is one of the city’s most significant commissions in recent times.
Paul is interested in examining that which often escapes our attention. Ubiquitous, yet often overlooked the sculpture elevates the humble pigeon to the realm of awe and wonder.
For many years, Paul has studied the form and symbolism of this common bird. For him, the pigeon speaks of migration and immigration, it connects the urban realm to the natural world, suggests navigation and homing instincts, reminds us of the messages and news we bring each other, and is a unifying feature of cities across the globe.
Birds, navigation, history and the natural world are all enduring themes of exploration in Paul’s work, as are geometric abstraction and mirrored surfaces.
Through the poetry of geometry and the escapism of the spectacle, this sculpture playfully disrupts the everyday. Through its mirrored surfaces, it reflects its viewer, environment and surrounding architecture while inviting closer inspection.
The work speaks of the built world (materials, structures and sculptures), of the natural world (birds and abstracted natural, geological forms), of direction, movement and mapping. It generates intrigue, makes passers-by stop, investigate, circumnavigate and explore the artwork.
Recognised as a homing pigeon from the band on its leg, the bird’s place of residence is recorded in GPS coordinates – cementing a sense of place and patriality for everything this resilient, remarkable bird symbolises.
Despite its fledgling status, for many the sensitively considered sculpture seems like it has always been in the public realm – a masterful achievement for this artist’s first major public art commission.
Congratulations to Paul!
Pictured: Paul Sloan, Pigeon, Adelaide, Australia, 2020. Sam Roberts Photography