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Sarah Goffman: Bridge to Asia

Sarah Goffman
Bridge to Asia
Murray Art Museum Albury, 2019
Image courtesy of Murray Art Museum Albury

A global citizen, avid traveller and cultural appreciator, artist Sarah Goffman had long dreamed of a bridge between Australia and Southeast Asia, a bridge across where we could embrace our neighbours and trade the best of each other’s cultures. The detail, care, tradition and aesthetic of Asia, combined with the casualness, humour, and the landscape of Australia. Goffman manifested this dream in the form of a 13-metre bamboo bridge which spanned above the foyer.

Goffman is an artist with an abundant imagination, and a delight in the everyday details of our material existence. She has long been obsessed with plastic, a material so plentiful, so available, so varied, it has formed the foundation of her artistic practice over the last 20 years. Always alert to interesting pieces, she collected and waited for the perfect match, contrast, or story to take hold of each object.

Bridge to Asia contained hundreds of small sculptures, creatively repurposed from garbage. Each piece had been lovingly transformed by time and imagination into objects of delight. Objects that belonged in a museum. Or did they? Was it real? Or a simulation, a projection of a set of treasured artefacts?

Like all simulations Bridge to Asia was both real and unreal. There were physical works - carefully collected, slowly crafted, thoughtfully arranged. And yet, the connections between the objects were intangible. A backstory, a moment of inspiration, a comment on culture, a deliberate attempt to replicate tradition, and even more deliberate attempts to buck tradition.
Goffman described her work as 'like a game show', a projection of reality, her reality, manifested into physical objects which sought balance, harmony, beauty, longevity, acceptance, and ultimately, peace.