Jose Dávila has challenged his own practice and created site-specific sculptures from found objects on Cockatoo Island, the site of an early colonial quarry, a British convict precinct of incarceration, a place where ships were built for the Second World War, and now a protected UNESCO site. The sculptures are metaphors for the forgotten welfare of sandstone, metals and discarded objects that once had usefulness and power. When we look at these sculptures, they teeter as if to fall, yet hold themselves together through uncanny support, a careful and precise game with gravity, and a trick of the eye. It is surprising – in their new combinations, these discarded materials survive to reflect our own rejection of them, like a memory trying to get back to a place of visibility.


  • Title: The Act of Perseverance
  • Creator: Jose Dávila
  • Date Created: 2020
  • Location Created: Cockatoo Island
  • Physical Dimensions: dimensions variable
  • Provenance: Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney. Courtesy the artist and König Galerie, Berlin.
  • Type: installation
  • Rights: Biennale of Sydney
  • Medium: site-specific mixed media installation with found materials from Cockatoo Island
  • Edition: 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020): NIRIN

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