Sketch of a Blue Whale (enlarged to scale 23m, 154 tonnes)

2012
Stainless steel tubing, Scaffolding
2300 x 1800 x 300 cm
Edition of 1

Sketch of a Blue Whale is a line drawing of the world’s largest mammal, rendered in stainless steel tubing and enlarged at a true-to-life scale. As with much of Brooks’ work, the sculpture reflects upon our relationship with the natural world and comments upon the detrimental impact human industry has on the environment. Here, Brooks draws on the aesthetic of urban structures such as skyscrapers and scaffolding to encase the monumental creature, alluding to the industrial methods used to handle these giant animals, as well as mimicking Cartesian drawing grids. The stainless steel tubing is similar to that used as guard rails in swimming pools. His sculptures are typically fabricated in materials used in urban infrastructure such as concrete, stainless steel and hardware machinery.

The blue whale can exceed 30 metres in length and 200 tonnes in weight; their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant and their hearts as much as a car. By confronting the viewer with the humbling scale of the creature, Brooks examines our individual relationships with the world around us, both celebrating its majesty and drawing attention to our disconnected perception of reality. From afar, the form is difficult to discern and for Brooks, discovering a whale seemingly floating in mid-air should be both unexpected and humorous. Brooks’ work investigates the relationship between individuals and their built and natural environments, challenging the terms under which nature is perceived.

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About The Artist

The work of David Brooks considers the relationship between the individual and the built and natural environment. His work focuses on how society implicates the natural world and also interrogates standardised perceptions of nature. His work investigates how cultural concerns cannot be divorced from the natural world, whilst also questioning the terms under which nature is perceived and industrialised. He often creates work depicting nature out of artificial materials in order to discuss the inherent tension existing between the manmade and natural world. Much of his work champions the organic and self-determined world of nature, which is evident in the works final outcome where manmade constraints and intervention in the maintenance or upkeep of the work have been deliberately removed.

Brooks questions what he describes as the ‘disconnect’ between projections or ideas of the environment, and the reality, and aims to counter a perceived lack of empathy, in which the natural world becomes hypothetical and removed. In a society so inundated with text and imagery, Brooks’ work suggests, we are at risk of becoming de-sensitised to our environments. His industrially-informed structures are frequently installed outdoors, in surroundings that highlight the dichotomous relationship between man and nature, such as urban parks or, as in the case of his acclaimed concrete stampede of animals before it was moved to a gallery space, in the midst of an area populated by wild sea birds.

‘Sketch of a Blue Whale (enlarged to scale 23m, 154 tonnes)’ is currently on display

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Visiting Information

David Brooks

Born: 1975

Other Artworks by David Brooks at CASS

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