Inge King Project for NGA

Phoebe Porter was invited by the NGA shop to develop a collection of jewellery to celebrate the 100th birthday of the exceptional Australian sculptor Inge King. Coinciding with this important milestone, the NGA held a survey exhibition of Inge and Graeme King’s works from their collection. The gallery also relocated a large work of Inge’s Temple Gate to Bowen Place Crossing, a recently completed $10 million landscape redevelopment near the NGA in Canberra.

Inge’s oeuvre is very diverse, but throughout her career she has worked extensively with assemblage. This method relates strongly to Porter’s jewellery, which is made from assembled components. Since the 1970’s Inge has often worked with discs, rings and blades to make works that are precisely constructed with a refined surface treatment – they are predominately natural stainless steel or deep black with occasional use of bold primary colour – these are the works that have inspired Phoebe Porter’s new collection of jewellery.

“The new pieces I’ve developed take some of the forms from Inge King’s sculptural work and adhere to a limited colour palette of black, red and a natural scratch brush finish. My aim was to create pieces that stand alone as sculptural objects, yet come alive when being worn. I hope my new collection will be a befitting celebration of the work of one of Australia’s most respected Sculptors, Inge King.”

Inge’s story is a fantastic example of someone who has pursued her artistic vision throughout her life. It seems she always made work even when her circumstances, such as raising a young family or working in a small space, didn’t allow her to make large sculptural work. The first pieces she made, including jewellery, were of modest scale through necessity.  In 1973 she held a groundbreaking exhibition at Powell Street Gallery titled Maquettes for Monumental Sculptures where the works were exhibited as small maquettes to invite large commissions and so were not for sale. One of the maquettes was an early version of Forward Surge which was eventually installed in its monumental form next to the Arts Centre in Melbourne in 1981. Inge King had a vision that she wanted to produce large public sculptures and, over many years, she made it happen.