Spectacular start to Sydney’s Vivid festival

The sails of the Sydney Opera House are illuminated with projections of Julia Gutman's work.

The sails of the Sydney Opera House are illuminated with projections of Julia Gutman's work. Photo: AAP

The Sydney Opera House sails have been lit up with an animated projection of artworks by 2023 Archibald Prize winner Julia Gutman, to mark the start of the Vivid festival of lights.

Gutman’s idiosyncratic patchwork art is made from materials donated by friends and family – with a measure of psychology sewn in too.

It has been digitised by technologists Pleasant Company along with images made specifically for the animation, and the result is a projection titled Echo, with music by Australian composer Angus Mills.

“The work is about the paradox of self-consciousness, the limitations of our own capacity to truly see ourselves, and the way our own unconscious wounds spill out into our perceptions of one another,” Gutman said in a statement.

“It’s a story about confronting your shadow.”

Those who struggle for a clear view of themselves or each other can at least hope to contemplate the Opera House, with the sails of the iconic building to be illuminated each night of the festival until June 15.

The artwork is Gutman’s first animation and is being described as her most ambitious work.

Echo is based on a re-imagining of Ovid’s myth of Narcissus and follows a central character, a girl in a striped t-shirt, with a face made from a hessian sack, who contends with a river made from denim and a rocky underground formed from satin.

In its use of narrative and a central character, it’s a departure from previous animations on the sails, and intentionally based on theatrical principles in honour of the Opera House, animators Pleasant Company said.

Nearly 3.5 million people attended Vivid in 2023, a mark that organisers say might be hard to top.

Vivid runs until Saturday, June 15, and the theme for 2024 is humanity.


Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter.
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.