| SCULPTORS: MELIESA JUDGE & WILL KUIPER
Malcolm Blight

A larger than life rendition of Football legend Malcolm Blight

created for Adelaide Oval

Design; Will Kuiper.

Sculpture; Will Kuiper and Meliesa Judge

Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
The powerful athleticism of a footballer; Blight is famous for the longest recorded goal kick.
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
The face portrait was derived from dozens of photos of Blight from the era
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
We sourced original Addidas boots and rendered them with the deep creases of well worn shoes.
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
The two sculptors worked on the clay to Will Kuipers original design
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
The original clay sculpture was modelled based on a life model with a similar physique to Malcolm Blight
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
The clay is first sculpted without clothes and with every detail of the musculature of the body in place.
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
The clothes were modelled from archival photos of Blight wearing the tight shorts and gurnsey of the 70's
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
Clothes are hand modelled over the clay body
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval
Malcolm Blight, Adelaide Oval

malcolm blight Unveiling of the Malcom Blight statue; 21st Aug 2015

It was with prosaic timing that Philanthropist Basil Sellers and Ian McLachlan sought us out for this project. We had just returned from a research trip to Europe where we spent four weeks weeks in Rome and Florence tracking down every Michaelangelo that we could find. A journey which naturally led to the earlier Roman and classical Greek works that were his sources of inspiration. A fantastic wealth of information for figurative sculptors.

Basil Sellers has connected with something profound that has been lost in contemporary art; the link between sculpture and athleticism that was at the heart of the classical tradition. The idea was that the perfection of the human body symbolised the perfection of the human mind and soul.

When Basil visited our studios it was Will Kuiper’s work that he responded to - the strongly athletic figures in high action moments.

He decided that of the suite of sculptures he was planning to commission, we would be assigned Malcolm Blight. This was our opportunity to capture the powerful athleticism of a footballer. Blight is famous for the longest recorded goal kick.

We had long discussions in the studios about when an action point reflects that moment of gathered strength, muscles poised yet relaxed like a big-cat, every movement focussed on one point. We saw the original of the famous classical sculpture, the Discus Thrower, in Rome. It is a sculpture that explores that exact idea - capturing the moment of pause - where the whole body is like a coiled spring just before the moment of powerful release, just before the explosion of energy.

Will’s first design for the sculpture was much as we see here. He worked with the idea and without conceding to restrictions, like the practical impediments of balancing a heavy sculpture on one extended point - cantilevered on the very heel-point, of the front foot.

The visual priority of the sculpture was to find that inspiring aesthetic - that optimum moment, of the game.

Malcolm Blight is famous for the long kick - it is a 70’s style of football that has changed over the years. We wanted to catch that sense of style - the extreme stretch - full charge - during the last minutes of a crucial match, - for maximum and stirring effect.

Once the idea was developed as a maquette we went to structural engineering to resolve the physical issues for a public site. Our engineer Ted Strange, worked out a stable scheme - integrating a stainless steel armature into the body of the bronze, and a footing system that would hold a pylon up for a low rise building.

Will and I are both sculptors, we have shared studios for 25 years, working our different styles. We share process work and metal work, however it is rare for us to work together on a creative project.

One of our other shared sculptures is in the Adelaide CBD: Aurora for the Aurora Building on Pirie St.

For the Blight sculpture we had a short time line, we so we both worked on the clay original, elbow to elbow quite literally - knocking the clay into shape.

We had a body model, posing for almost 200 hours, patient and hard working - holding a very difficult and strenuos pose - had him propped in position with a rig Will designed, like a 3D rack.

Alan Obst acted as advisor with his in depth knowledge, as both a AFL footballer and a Physiotherapist. He advised us on aspects of the action moment, in its position and pose, and the evolution of the game itself.

The portrait had to be accurate. Basil Sellers had requested that it not be too “craggy”. I worked the face twice - first working directly from the life model to shape the skull, jaw and cheekbones. And then completely reworked the face to the distinctive character and features of Malcolm Blight. Working from photos of Malcolm Blight from the era, from press archives, with a lot of help from Ian McLachlans office and from Rex Sellers.

Clothing the figure. The body was sculpted naked and clothes then hand modelled over the clay so as to keep the vloume and detail of the musculature. There is no logo - Malcolm Blight is claimed by so many different teams that the committee’s decision was to simply leave it generic - slightly two tone for Woodville - and the characteristic 15 on his back. We tracked down original addidas boots for authenticity and modelled them with the deep detail of well worn boots.

The entire project took one and a half tonnes of clay; 300 kilos of bronze; 40 kilos of silicone rubber and 120 kgs of acrylic resin; three tonnes of calcinated flint clay; one tonne of plaster; 800 litres of LPG; 4 tanks of argon welding gas - and a final tally of 3260 hours.

And the bronze will last for hundreds of years.

We both walked away with a real sense of admiration for these athletes - the dedication it takes to build both the musculature and flexibility, an insight into their passion and drive.

We are profoundly grateful to Basil Sellers for this opportunity. He has made a lasting contribution to the culture of our state - both sporting and artistic.

We hope that this sculpture does reflect in some way the classical ideal, the harmony of body mind and spirit, the idea of poise and balance, of focussed intensity. And of striving for to be the best version of yourself, each day that you have before you.

 
Mary Ward, Loreto Schools in Australia   sculpture Carrick Hill   The Guardian   still watch   Angas Memorial, Adelaide City
  Aurora Sculpture, Adelaide City   Catherine McCauley   Waite Arboretum sculpture collection   Howling Wolves  
public site sculpture   Wickerman sculpture   Egrets, linde Reserve   St Ignatius sculpture   Ceres, Waite Arboretum
  Aurora Sculpture, Adelaide City   Catherine McCauley   Waite Arboretum sculpture collection   Howling Wolves  
Mary Ward, Loreto Schools in Australia   sculpture Carrick Hill   The Guardian   still watch   Angas Memorial, Adelaide City