New South Melbourne artwork channels Greek gods

Hickory has unveiled new artwork designed by Alexander Knox sitting in the atrium of its new Market Lane development which was designed by Elenberg Fraser in South Melbourne.

The work, titled Joy to Mortals, is made of dichroic glass and hangs above the atrium. It is directly inspired by Greek mythology, the structure illuminates the office building and completes the series of art in Market Lane.

Knox has earned a reputation for creating striking and intriguing visuals. His work is featured in various collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, RMIT University and Arts ACT.

“It was one of those big projects where you have a fantastic site, in the five-story atrium of Hickory’s headquarters, and a client who’s willing to trust you with a big vision,” Knox says.

“I captured Greek mythology with an abstraction of Zeus’ destruction of Helios’ sun chariot. This mythical event is encapsulated in a solar sculpture that uses curved metal surfaces and dichroic glass to create an ever-changing lighting effect. It is indeed a hybrid sculpture of the material and the ephemeral.

Sarah Ritson is the project’s artistic consultant.

“It was an absolute pleasure to work with Alexander Knox and the team at Hickory to achieve this outstanding result,” she said.

“Alexander responded perfectly to Elenberg Fraser’s Market Lane architecture and brief.”

Joy to Mortals has its origins in the ancient story of Phaethon, who borrowed a sun chariot from his father and sun god Helios. Unable to control the reins of the chariot, Phaethon accidentally freezes and then burns the earth, before Zeus strikes Phaethon with a single lightning bolt, ending his disastrous journey. The work captures this mythical cataclysm with a series of optical fragments embodying the deconstructed solar chariot and floating debris.

The room sits between the two prominent buildings on Market Lane, using natural light to make sunlight visible through controlled spotlights to add a splash of color and intrigue. The working forms add to the visual connectivity of the space, capturing sunlight and its changing effects even when the sun is not active.