Artist: Heather B. Swann
Location: Degraves Place
(off Degraves Street between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Australia)
Dates: 20 July 2007 – 9 March 2008
The multi-headed dog monster Cerberus protects the entrance of Hades, the classical underworld. Swann’s sculpture stands guard at the Degraves Place entrance to the Flinders Street pedestrian underpass.
Gates of Hell has its origin both in the stories of Greek and Roman mythology, of Hercules and Orpheus, and in the forms of French Romanesque sculpture, with its heraldic, symbolic and decorative beasts and its Last Judgement hell mouths.
More important than these cultural references, however, is the work’s primitive emotion, its expression of angry threat.
Cerberus’s biting, barking heads are designed to frighten us. The artist is challenging our complacency and lethargy.
She wants us to think about (and act against) the hellishness of now, the purgatories and punishments of the contemporary world.
Sculpture manufactured in collaboration with Ian Burns and John Clark of Millennium Art Services.
Photos: John Raptis