First look at the Benjamin Shine art installation at Canberra Centre

First look at the Benjamin Shine art installation at Canberra Centre

More than two and a half months of work and 2000 metres of tulle are behind a new art installation at Canberra Centre by internationally renowned artist Benjamin Shine.

The Canberra-based artist was commissioned to create the artworks, which are on display at the entrance to David Jones on level 2 near Pepe's Paperie.

Artist Benjamin Shine has installed his artwork 'The Dance' at the Canberra Centre.

Artist Benjamin Shine has installed his artwork 'The Dance' at the Canberra Centre.Credit:Jamila Toderas

Titled The Dance, the stunning sculptures feature two large faces, a male and a female, and a series of dancing figures silhouetted within the flowing fabric as if suspended in motion.

The Canberra Centre approached Shine last year with the idea of a collaboration focused around fashion.


"I began playing around with the idea of dancers because it was something I'd been working on, and I wanted to use the tulle because it links to dance and ballet," he said.

"So I wanted to get some sort of better silhouettes than just fashion models – because there's more going on with dancers, there's far more shapes, so that's what I wanted to do."

Shine created the sculptures by painstakingly folding and hand-sewing tulle in place, a process he created himself, and took the method to new levels for the collaboration.

"This is the first time I've done many things. I've never worked in lots of colours before - I usually just use one or two.

"And it's the first time they've been suspended from the ceiling as three-dimensional pieces that are like sculptures, and it's the first time I've used lighting to back light them so it's entirely new territory."

Shine said the biggest challenge was getting the large artworks from his studio in O'Malley to the Canberra Centre.

"I made half of it in the studio and then filled everything in once they arrived. There's a special rigging system – it was unbelievable what we designed for it," he said.

"There's an 11 metre hole in the ceiling and each of the figures is in a ceiling panel of its own which was hanging in my studio on a special rig which got brought into here in a crate. And we lifted it out and into the ceiling, we had to slide it from one end to the other. It was a real logistical thing to work out how to do it."


British-born Shine has worked all around the world, and has previous collaborated with brands including Givenchy, Google, Coca-Cola and MTV.

He and wife Danielle are about to move to New York until some time next year. Shine has a number of projects lined up including designing the windows for a major New York department store.

Jil Hogan is an food and lifestyle reporter at The Canberra Times.

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