Art@Site Charles, Joan Walsh Smith Circle of Time

Charles Joan Walsh Smith


Circle of Time

University of Science and Technology
"We felt that the theme should be firmly 'in context' with its setting; that it should reflect, in some way, the ambiance of its location; be relevant, and respond, both visually and metaphorically to the University. Thus, we chose to create a contemplative 'Circle of Time', an oasis within the bustling matrix of this vast complex of buildings."
"This major focal-point is a great, 8.5m tall 'Time-Piece', which is a synthesis of art and science, in that it is a sculpture which actually functions as a sundial, and a sundial which is also a sculpture, irrespective of its functional element. The soaring, sweeping, graceful forms of this center piece, is suggestive of dynamic movement and complex rhythms of shape, which use the Sun and it's shadows as an intrinsic element of its function, both visually and aesthetically."The 'Time-Piece' is perched atop a podium of broad steps in the center of a pool, which in turn, feeds the waterfalls. These 'cascades' are symbolic of the flow of history, and are used to frame a recessed area in the circular podium which contains a 7.0m long by 1.5m high, low relief sculpture, depicting the history of Chinese Science and Technology. Once again, the details of the relief are only discernible by the myriad of shadows cast by its highly articulated surface. This is a further development of the time-piece concept, but one which will reward the observer with many hours of contemplative enjoyment, while functioning as an educational narrative." We deliberately eliminated scale to create a flow of shapes and forms to simulate what we term a historical stream of consciousness. Features are juxta-positioned upon each other to approximate the swirl and flow of history, almost dreamlike in complexity. Some elements are larger than others by virtue of their form rather than specific historical function. The result is a restless shadow play teeming with the creative energy of the Chinese-People. As with the Sundial soaring above, it is the symbolic interplay of shadows which articulates the relief sculpture, the passage of time being measured both directly and indirectly both paying homage to the most recent 'Temple of Learning' of the University itself."
Entitled"Circle of Time", the sculpture standing in the center of the Entrance Piazza was commissioned by the Hong Kong Jockey Club and created by two Irish-born, Perth (Western Australia) based sculptors, the husband-and-wife team of Charles and Joan Walsh-Smith. The center-piece sculpture is based on one of mankind's earliest scientific inventions: a sundial, i.e. by making use of the rays of the Sun to tell time. The sundial is made of steel and mounted on a paved podium of broad steps in the center of a pool of flowing water - a metaphor for the passage of time. The podium also incorporates a carved mural depicting 39 Chinese achievements in all fields of science and technology. The installation took place on 8 October 1991. The red sundial has then become an icon of HKUST.
The color red symbolizes luck and is believed to ward away evil.
Color in Chinese culture refers to the various colors that are considered auspicious (吉利) or inauspicious (不利). The Chinese character combination for the word for color is 顏色 (yánsè). In ancient China, the character 色, generally used alone, more accurately meant color in the face, or emotion (often implying sexual desire or desirability). During the Tang Dynasty, yánsè began to refer to all color. The Chinese idiom 五颜六色 'wǔ (five) yán liù (six) sè,' which is used to describe many colors, may also suggest colors in general.