What’s in Store for the Sun Woman?

Finding a new home for a piece of delightful sculpture by Spanish artist Juan Ripollés

Issue: Apr 2014

With arms open wide, the Sun Woman seems to call out to one and all, inviting them to see what’s in store for them!
With arms open wide, the Sun Woman seems to call out to one and all, inviting them to see what’s in store for them!

Nestled among the greeneries in Technopark@Chai Chee is a larger than life sculpture titled Sun Woman, which must have put a smile on many people who walk past that part of the Technopark. With the sale of this CapitaLand property to a third party, the sculpture, which forms part of CapitaLand’s Art, will soon be moved to another location.

Even with one eye, one mouth and one nose, she seems to draw the focus of those who yearn to be just as happy as her
Even with one eye, one mouth and one nose, she seems to draw the focus of those who yearn to be just as happy as her

This is not the first time the Sun Woman was moved. Originally, it stood in a pedestrian mall next to Orchard Point and was specially commissioned for the project by Pidemco Land - before the merger of Pidemco Land and DBS Land to form CapitaLand.

“The artist came to Singapore and we met him. We found his work light-hearted and would engage the people. So, we commissioned him,” recalled Chief of Design Review Unit Poon Hin Kong, a long serving staff member and an art lover.

The Fun-Loving Sun Woman

Engaging certainly is the Sun Woman. It is a curious sort of woman – surreal if you like. First, it is oddly proportioned. The round face overpowers the extremely squat body, and the out-reaching hands are rather large by contrast. Second, it has no front and back, for it has two faces addressing opposite directions (and subtle change in colour for the two aspects). Third, it combines very real details – such as its hands, with very simplified ones – such as its arching tube-like body. Such a creation can only exist in an artist’s mind and through his hands becomes a reality – a surreal sort of reality.

The Man behind the Sun Woman

Basking happily in the sun, The Sun Woman seems to be shouting:
Basking happily in the sun, The Sun Woman seems to be shouting: “Come join me!”

The artist, Juan Ripollés from Spain, was born in 1932 in Alzira, Valencia. His early years were a struggle. He was at various times a horse dung collector, scrap collector and house painter. In 1954, he left for Paris with the desire to be an artist. Just four years later his dream came true; his creations were hanging on the walls of a prestigious gallery that had earlier exhibited the art pieces of the great Picaso, an artist whose work had influenced his. Today, at the age of 82, Ripollés continues to be active. He has held exhibitions in different cities of the world and his sculptures adorn many squares and streets of cities and towns in Spain and overseas.

The Delightful Sun Woman

The two faces of the Sun Woman are most delightful to behold. One of them is a combination of two faces in profile - the Cubist influence of simultaneous views of the same subject, while the other is pared down to the essentials – just three strokes of recesses representing one eye, the nose and the mouth. The ears, “shared” by both faces, are like handles of a cauldron. Could household objects be part of his inspiration?

A sculpture such as this tends to delight the viewers, because it brings out the child in the adult and appeals to children spontaneously. It can be in any location, as long as the immediate surrounding is a good fit. Owing to the change of hands of CapitaLand projects and other factors, it has been uprooted and replanted more than once. With the sale of the Technopark, where will be its next destination?

This question occupied the minds of the CapitaLand Singapore (Commercial) Design Management team and a place was eventually identified: the roof garden of Twenty Anson, a 20-storey prime office building. It will not be a straight forward operation though. For the Sun Woman is too big to take the service lift, and she will have to be lifted up to the roof level by a crane, probably in the wee hours, when the crane parked by the roadside will not disturb the traffic too much.

What is in store for the Sun Woman?

Nothing short of love and care to place it in another good home!

An artist's impression of the Sun Woman in her new home at the roof garden of Twenty Anson
An artist’s impression of the Sun Woman in her new home at the roof garden of Twenty Anson

This article is contributed by CapitaLand Chief of Art Management, Francis Wong Hooe Wai

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