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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

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Lyndon Dadswell

In their own words

Recorded 1960

Lyndon Dadswell
Audio: 2 minutes

Sculpture, whether it was done by Michelangelo or Leonardo or any famous Greek or anyone else, was not done as sculpture, that is to say, the people concerned didn’t think of art, they didn’t set out to do art. They investigated things that interested them, they experimented and they researched. In the process they used the point or they used the chisel, they used the clay or they used all the many materials and colour and paint and so forth. The by-products have been regarded as art, so it is false in my opinion to commence teaching students on the assumption that you can teach art. You introduce them to investigation and inquiry, and through the research they will develop a means of communicating whatever they must communicate.

If I were asked to say something about my own sculpture, my own work, I’d find it most difficult to say very much at all. I’m of such a make-up that I like the challenge offered me by a client, who is usually an architect, when he comes to me and says, ‘Look, here are the restrictions in which I want you to be as free as you possibly can.’ This is the exciting challenge. As far as I’m concerned, it’s quite impossible for me to repeat the same type of thing building after building, or situation after situation. I haven’t that strong emphasis of ‘this is a Dadswell work’ in me, perhaps this is a lacking, I don’t know about that, but personally I feel that if I could take my client a little further than he expected to go and yet found himself willing to go, then I’ve done something that is tremendously important for him. I have an obligation and I think I’ve sort of worked it out in doing this, I think this is my job, in the experience; although I’ve been restrained I’ve learnt a great deal in this restraint.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Lyndon Dadswell is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

Related people

Lyndon Dadswell CMG

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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