Temple gate was inspired by my first visit to Japan in 1974. Among the many treasures, I was fascinated by the various archways to Shinto shrines – wooden structures painted in bright colours, predominantly red with gold and white decorations. They are called ‘Torii’. It was not until 1976 that I started to develop my own interpretations of archways. My archways were conceived as part of the ‘Australian landscape’ which has gripped my imagination since I arrived here in 1951.
I try to measure work against the vast spaces of this country. It is not the size of the sculpture but simplicity and clarity of form, expressing inner strength and tension, that is the motivating force.
Temple gate was completed in 1977 and exhibited the same year in a solo exhibition at Realities Gallery in Melbourne. James Mollison, the first director of the National Gallery of Australia, purchased the work from this exhibition. It remained in storage until the Gallery opened its doors in 1983 when it was installed in the sculpture courtyard at its present site.
Temple gate is a ‘walk-through’ sculpture, thus encouraging the spectator to explore its many facets. It was the first in a series of suspended works that try to create a feeling of flight which almost denies the gravitational pressure of the material.
I look at the art of sculpture as ‘vision in motion’. I have used metal, predominantly steel, to express my ideas. I envisage my monumental sculptures as part of the environment.
Inge King, 2002
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002