On the corner of High and Glenferrie roads in Malvern is an impressive sculpture by Paul Juraszek. “The Sun & the Moon”, 1989, is a large bronze figurative duo with a savage looking Apollo and Dianna. Melbourne sculpture, Paul Juraszek was born 1953 but I have been able to find little else about him; his fame is overshadowed by being depicted, 29 times, in Marcus Will’s painting The Paul Juraszek Monolith that won the 2006 Archibald Prize.
The sculpture, “The Sun & the Moon” is on the National Trust register for several reasons including: “(1) ….this work will be seen as the first Post Modern sculpture in Melbourne. (2) ….it is the most adventurous commission yet given by any suburban council in Melbourne. (3) ….the sculpture reveals the political attitudes of the period.”
It is further noted on the National Trust website that “Paul Jurasek has not received any further public commissions, so this work remains as his most ambitious and most successful public work.” This is a problem that many of Melbourne’s sculptures face, there are very few that are able to get further public commissions, nor do these single public commissions enhance their careers in any other ways.
Over twenty years later “The Sun & the Moon” does not look that post-modern, there are no obvious references, no parody nor pastiche. The sculpture does not look to a classical past nor to a modern future – it looks, in a surreal way and a post-colonial to a tribal shamanic world. As the first public post-modern sculpture in greater Melbourne it was created only ten years after the Melbourne City Council had commissioned the first public modern sculpture, “Vault” by Ron Roberston-Swann in 1979.
What the sculpture reveals about the political attitudes of the period (the collective consciousness) is interesting but also confusing. The conservative constituents of the Stonnington City Council did not praise the council for this “adventurous commission” (perhaps, another reason why so few sculptors receive further public commissions). Alleyn Best in his History of Malvern 1988-1994, records initial protests at these two sculptures on a range of issues. Members of the Armadale Baptist Church protested offended by the pagan symbolism in the sculptures (these idiots would have protested the pagan symbolism in the Renaissance if they had been around and could get publicity). The sculpture is still not that popular as expressed by Lucy Tartan in her blog.