Love Locks

August 8, 2016

 

Melbourne Town Hall

Mon 8th -Sat  20th, August 12-6pm.

Commissioned by City of Melbourne to re-purpose hundreds of the famed Love Locks that were removed from a Southgate Bridge last year. The locks have been threaded into a weighty necklace that references  the relationship between the love lock phenomenon and a similar devotional object from Australia's unique convict history.

 

Artists Statement

Devotion (Lock and Coin Necklace)

 

Devotion threads references to a history of metal objects exchanged as symbols of love.  The necklace makes an association between the modern Love Lock ritual and a uniquely Australian history of Convict Love Tokens. 

 

The Love Tokens were pennies that convicts would engrave with messages of devotion, prayers and farewells. Often the coins were threaded onto ribbon for loved ones to wear around their necks.

 

Devotion is an extremely large necklace constructed from hundreds of the engraved padlocks. Scattered throughout the necklace are brass coins, cast from the original padlocks. The coins are engraved with significant love quotes. The act of collecting the quotes from the public pays homage to the public ritual of clipping a lock to a municipal structure.

 

Conversely to the locks, which are personal gestures subversively attached to public structures. The Convict Coins were currency, deliberately taken from circulation, defaced, engraved and exchanged with loved ones to be worn privately and intimately.  

 

Reading the script on each lock gives us an intimate window into the sentiment between couples across Melbourne. While exploring the text on the coins, reveals a broader cultural overview of the myriad of ways we view and experience love.

 

The necklace is heavy and perhaps conveys some of the enormity of the sentiment behind the Love Lock movement. But its scale and weight also speaks to the powerful social heritage of the metal object exchanged between people as a symbol of an intangible, ethereal and sometimes hard to define emotion: love.

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