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Refuge by Korban & Flaubert

About the work

Title: Refuge
Artist: Korban & Flaubert
Material:  Stainless steel
Location: Windsor Street, Paddington

About the project

'Refuge' is a gleaming diagram of a seedpod, a skeleton of a natural form.

A symbol of protection, growth and propagation.

The seed is long gone, all that remains is an evocative husk.

Its form eroded over time.

It was the home of a living thing, a safe space to grow in. A refuge for a seed bursting forth into the world and germinating to create new life. Refuge is a metaphor for our homes, our safe spaces too.

Its memories form the shape of the life grown within it. Forgotten hollows and a remainder skeleton. The remnant outline is elusive, abstract and expressive.

Metal is treasure from the earth. Valuable. Ductile. Lustrous.

This lustre can give it a sense of inner life, of contained energy.

This contained energy is the starting point for our work.

We explore metal objects as artefacts, lost, truncated, containing memories.

About the artists

Local artists Janos Korban and Stefanie Flaubert have developed a sculpture and design practice over the last 25 years, exploring metal and motion in their Sydney workspace.

They have backgrounds in architecture, design, art, psychology and metalwork with skills sparked and honed in Germany.

In Germany, Korban & Flaubert worked in experimental lightweight architecture, exhibition design and metalwork. This led them to collaborate on experiments manipulating metal: material and action.

They returned to Australia and set up the Sydney workshop in 1995.

They have had a design and sculpture practice in Paddington in the old Sherman Gallery building at 1 Hargrave Street for the last 6 years. They are represented in museum collections in Australia, the U.S. and Germany.

Artist Q&A

How did the installation of Refuge come about?

Sue deBeranger, a local artist, suggested a sculpture of ours might suit the location. We were sitting on the bench having a neighbourly Covid catchup and in front of us was the vacant concrete plinth. ‘Refuge’ immediately came to mind. We showed Sue the piece in our studio around the corner and she recommended it to the Windsor Street cul-de-sac committee. They liked the idea and passed the idea on to Woollahra Council. Maria Lacey, the Public Art Coordinator also liked the piece for the site and presented it to the Public Art Panel. Sculptor Paul Hopmeier coordinated the installation with our assistance.

Why do you think Refuge is suited to the location in Paddington?

The pocket park is a natural casual meeting place for locals and visitors in this part of Paddington. It’s shaded by tall trees that create a leafy proscenium for sculpture. ‘Refuge’ is based on a seedpod form seen throughout Paddington. It is a gleaming diagram of a seedpod, a skeleton of a natural form. The seed is long gone, all that remains is an evocative husk. The shady natural location provides a contrasting backdrop that allows the polished metal seedpod form to pop out and shine. The trees filter sunlight, the light and shadows dance over the metal surface, animating it and giving it variation in appearance over the course of the day. The scale of the sculpture seems well suited to the space defined by the trees too.

What does it mean to have one of your sculptures installed so close to where you’ve lived and worked?

We’ve lived in the area for 27 years and we had our sculpture studio just around the corner at 1 Hargrave Street for the last 6 years. The local people have been very welcoming and of course it is wonderful to leave a little memento of our presence in Paddo.

What has the feedback been like so far?

The first and best piece of feedback was from a local 2 year old just as we were installing it. He patted it and shouted ‘Amazing!’ Later on once installation was completed, several neighbours came over to check it out, they were pretty enthusiastic! Some positive feedback on Instagram too.

On loan courtesy of the artists.