Bold artistic ode to RMIT luminary Gillespie

The art installation Present Past forms part of the Urban Animators public art program

A Present Past forms part of the Urban Animators public art program

Chris Bold's installation was made with 95 per cent recycled materials

Chris Bold made the installation with 95 per cent recycled materials

An artwork created almost entirely out of recycled signage has been installed in the Building 12 level 4 lift lobby at RMIT’s City campus.

Part of the Urban Animators public art program, RMIT alumnus artist Chris Bold was challenged to produce an artwork out of 95 per cent recycled materials.

The materials were primarily sourced from out-dated wayfinding and information signage produced by the New Academic Street project team.

Holding a Master of Arts (Art in Public Space), Bold was an apt choice for the project as the installation is housed in a thoroughfare running through Building 12.

The artwork, titled ‘A Present Past’, contains three images of J.G. Gillespie, President of RMIT in 1946 when it was named the Melbourne Technical College, and the namesake of the building in which it is installed.

The central section of the piece features old signage interwoven with Gillespie’s image, a technique that Bold says generates “a clash resulting in something different than the parts involved, both formally and conceptually”.

Additionally the artwork’s colour palette ties the piece to the building, combining the dominant colours of RMIT, red and yellow, with the faculty colour of spectrum blue.

Blue and yellow photo strips are at regular intervals creating a grid across the artwork, “perhaps reflecting the Melbourne CBD”, Bold says.

When viewing the installation, Bold asks that staff and students take their time, as “it is a three-dimensional work and complex both visually and conceptually”.

The piece aims to provoke thought and reflection around the changing city campus and the way people interact with it.

Bold welcomes any reaction from those who view the artwork.

“I'm not sure how many people know that the building is actually named after J.G. Gillespie, a significant figure in RMIT history,” he says.

“When did we start calling it building 12?”

Bold’s piece, a response to the REuse:REclaim theme, reinterprets the signage and its qualities within one of the new spaces created by the construction hoarding.

The installation can be found in Building 12, Level 4, directly opposite the lifts.