Gone, a monumental cast fibreglass and mixed media sculpture by KAWS, was unveiled today in Sydney's Hyde Park Glebe, marking the artist's first public commission in Australia. The work will remain on display for two years. Commissioned by City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore through her Sculpture By The Sea program, the work is valued at $200,000.
Gone's bright yellow form is a stylistic departure from the artist's earlier works which are usually monochromatic and rendered in vinyl. It depicts an anthropomorphic bear carrying its own head under its arm.
"I wanted to make two things that were radically different but somehow related, and I think this one is quite playful," says KAWS. "I wanted the head to be about twice as big as the bear because my drawings usually have heads that are bigger than anything else. Then I had to make it proportional - so you have this giant head on top of a really tiny body with short arms and legs."
The work is the first of seven sculptures KAWS plans to install around the world in 2016 as part of his Year Of The Bear series. The artist also created vinyl figures for Uniqlo's UT range, and works on a collaborative apparel line with French fashion house Sonia Rykiel.
KAWS cites the Boston-born designer Charles Bear as the inspiration behind his humanoid bear figure. The artist says he bought a large teddy bear in Korea on one of his trips there and named it Charles Bear after his childhood bear, also called Charles.
"Every morning I would squeeze him," KAWS says. "Then I started squeezing myself into the toy form because I thought, 'It's so much more comfortable'. I thought that was kind of funny, the shape of a bear squeezing into another form. That idea got me thinking about what an animal would do to fit in."
To know more about this artwork, visit Shophomeless.com.