Design model, Pylon Man, paper/cardboard/glue/foam, Closing Ceremony, Olympic Games, Sydney, 2000, designed and made by Reg Mombassa (Chris O'Doherty), Sydney c.2000
Images of Australian suburbia inspired Reg Mombassa (Chris O'Doherty) when he designed props and stages for the Closing Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games. Representing an electrical pylon, this three-dimensional design model evokes this suburban theme. Its resemblance to a human figure also demonstrates Mombassa's ability to abstract and reinvent the ordinary - a characteristic that is apparent in most of his prop and stage designs. The pylon image would be translated into a large inflatable figure that would surmount a stage during 'Heroes' - a segment featuring several, popular Australian bands. Made in paper and cardboard and mounted on florists' foam, this model demonstrates a stage in Mombassa's design process.
The Closing Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games took place on Sunday, 1 October, at Stadium Australia, Homebush Bay. It included solemn formalities, an informal parade of athletes and a farewell party that took the form of an unregimented parade with floats that celebrated and often mocked aspects of Australian popular culture. The intention was to conduct the ceremony with decorum until the extinction of the Olympic flame, and then to unleash a party. The artistic director of the closing ceremony David Atkins explained: 'The athletes have finished competition, and are ready to party, and we have set about creating a party to end all parties. We have decided to invite everyone into our giant Australian backyard - fully equipped with Hills Hoists, barbecues, an eclectic mix of music, performers and all manner of Australiana. Australians have a tradition of throwing great parties, and this one will be imbued with a sense of fun, larrikinism and goodwill.' According to Ric Birch (speaking on Channel 7's 'Olympic Sunrise'), the Opening Ceremony was to represent Australia at large, but the Closing Ceremony was Sydney's show.
As the ceremony unfolded the proliferation of suburban images, such as Hills Hoists, blowflies, lifesavers and thongs, was treated with self-deprecating irony rather than clichÂ?. The wit and quality of the 'Parade of Icons' - a gala of Australian celebrities - reflected the influence of the late Peter Tully and his experience as artistic director of the Sydney Mardi Gras. The 'pit chicks', for example, donned silver hot pants and stiletto shoes and carried giant eyelashes and mascara for the Priscilla Bus - a prop that celebrated the Australian film, 'Priscilla, Queen of the Desert', as well as local gay culture.
After Vanessa Amorosi's performance of 'Absolutely Everybody', the arena was transformed into a huge dance-floor as 960 ballroom dancing couples in fluorescent costumes danced the samba, tango and jive to the beat of John Paul Young. Accompanying the dancers, were 208 giant dancing feet and the incongruous assembly of oversized kewpie dolls.
The opening ceremony told a mythic story of nation-building that dwarfed individuals. It was evocative and subtle. The closing ceremony, however, celebrated personality, celebrity and attitude. Loud and brash, more like a rock concert than a profoundly theatrical event, it was an extravagant send-off - fun, festive, shamelessly excessive and, for an international audience, decidedly weird.
Australian artist, Reg Mombassa (Chris O'Doherty), designed and
by images of Australian suburbia, it depicts an electrical pylon - its structure resembling a man with outstretched legs and arms. In 2000, this was translated into a large inflatable figure that surmounted one of the stages in the Closing Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games.
This three-dimensional model, called 'Pylon Man', was a prototype for the large inflatable figure that surmounted one of the stages in the Closing Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games.
Made for and owned by the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and donated to the Powerhouse Museum after the Games.