A bold, contemporary artwork titled Circulation by Quebec artists Pierre Sasseville and Jean-François Cooke will enhance Surrey’s new Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre at the corner of 24 Avenue and 168 Street in South Surrey. Circulation is a monumental two-part sculpture of deer that references the dual purpose of the building: family-oriented recreation and professional competition.
The sculpture facing 168 Street consists of a pair of pipes coming out of the ground that attaches to a faucet. A chromed pipe extends from the faucet in what appears to be a stream of water pooling on the ground. Drinking from the stream of water is an oversized bronze sculpted fawn. This animal, a traditional symbol of childhood and youth, illustrates the building’s recreational side that includes a 500 square metre leisure and lifestyle pool with a lazy river feature, waterslide, spray features, and tot’s area.
The sculpture at the entrance of the building from the parking lot appears as a stream of water gushing out of a pipe that rises from the ground. As people approach, however, they will realize that the running water is actually a dynamic assembly of six life-sized chrome deer with their horns entwined. The arrangement of these animals will evoke the mirror-like effect of two powerful streams of water confronting one another, powerfully illustrating the spirit of competition in this 10-lane, 50m FINA-standard Olympic size competition pool with world-class diving facilities.
Playful and thought-provoking, these sculptures present familiar forms of deer that are altered in unexpected ways to spark conversation about the natural and built environment, and our relationship to both.
Themes of movement, transition, and journey inspired Cooke and Sasseville. As their title suggests, Circulation refers to the movement of water “following a course”: water circulating in the environment, water circulating in the building’s pipes, and water (blood) circulating in the body. The artists state, “Among the strongest symbolic features of the project, we find a kind of symbiosis between the cycle of water and that of the human body’s fluids referring to both the purpose of the building and the human relation with water as an essential element of life.”
The artwork’s pipes are an extension of the movement of water inside the building and visually connect the building’s main entrance from the parking lot with the view from the street. The red and blue colour scheme signifies both hot and cold water, as well the anatomy of the human vascular system (oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood veins).
About the Artists
The City issued an international call to artists to compete for this commission. Out of 94 applicants, the Public Art Selection Committee shortlisted five artists from Canada (including four local artists) and one artist from the US. The selection process determined Cooke-Sasseville’s concept most appropriate for South Surrey’s connection with the natural environment and the theme of water as it relates to the Aquatic Centre.
Jean-François Cooke and Pierre Sasseville live and work in Quebec City. Cooke-Sasseville’s artwork is known for its uncommon use of familiar forms through strange but simple visual transformations. Since joining their practices in 2002, they have developed an approach that can be provocative and witty. A notable example of their approach is Mélangez le Tout (Mix it All, 2011), which looks like a giant hand mixer.
The artists have described the use of culinary mixers in their practice as a visual substitute for homogenizing forces. They recently completed a public art commission Le Passe-temps (2013) for Petite-Rivière-Saint-François and have done commissions for other towns such as Donnacona, L’Ancienne-Lorette, and Thetford Mines in Quebec.
More about the City of Surrey’s Public Art Program
The City of Surrey implemented a public art policy in 1998, and, since that time, 1.25% of the construction cost of new civic buildings has been invested in public art. This will be the 60th public artwork in the City’s public art collection. The artworks have been created in a range of materials from carved stone and bronze sculptures to interactive sculptures, illuminated overpasses, and collaborative community art projects such as mosaics. For more information on Surrey’s public art collection, visit our website www.surrey.ca/publicart