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The James Gleeson oral history collection

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image: Les Kossatz Sheep on a couch 1972-73 Assemblage, sheep skin, stainless steel, dyed leather, chrome plated and galvanized steel 91.0 h x 203.0 w x 91.0 d cm Purchased 1975 © Les Kossatz. Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia

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Sheep on a couch 1972-73
Assemblage, sheep skin, stainless steel, dyed leather,
chrome plated and galvanized steel
91.0 h x 203.0 w x 91.0 d cm
Purchased 1975
© Les Kossatz. Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
more detail

Les Kossatz

28 November 1979 [unknown location]

James Gleeson: Yes, of course. Good, I think that gives us an idea of that. Sheep, now that’s the sheep on the couch. That’s probably the most startling one of yours that we have at the moment. We haven’t got a photograph of it but I recall it as a life-size sheep bound and lying on what looks like a rather Victorian style couch.

Les Kossatz: Yes, the couch is a sort of cross between a landscape form of a sort of hill come valley form.

James Gleeson: So it’s a landscape turned into a couch.

Les Kossatz: Into a couch, but the fact that it’s leather and it’s studded as a couch would be. It’s supported by two steel half wheels, if you like.

James Gleeson: Yes.

Les Kossatz: So it has some sort of connotation of a wheel-chair, but because they’re only half wheels as though it’s either bogged or, you know, it ain’t goin’ any further.

James Gleeson: Yes, yes. The end of the line.

Les Kossatz: Yes, as its support. The sheep is life size. The fleece is an actual fleece. It’s been tanned but not degreased. It’s wrapped around a steel armature which has been hacked out.

James Gleeson: I see, yes.

Les Kossatz: The head and legs are cast stainless steel taken from actual hooves and the head had been skun before I took the cast.

James Gleeson: Yes.

Les Kossatz: So I suppose you could call those dead—I suppose, what would you call them? Death or death casts.

James Gleeson: Death casts, yes.

Les Kossatz: You know, of those particular sections. The horns are hand carved and then cast.

James Gleeson: :I see. What did you carve them in?

Les Kossatz: In a urethane.

James Gleeson: Yes.

Les Kossatz: Polyurethane.

James Gleeson: The couch itself, is that real leather?

Les Kossatz: Yes, it’s real leather.

James Gleeson: So that there’s an enormous amount of fabrication goes on into your sculpture?

Les Kossatz: Yes, certainly, certainly.

James Gleeson: Clearly you think it all out well in advance, because we have the drawing in fact for that particular sculpture.

Les Kossatz: I try to. Sometimes the drawings are half completed prior to the work. The drawings are probably the notation, but often the drawings mightn’t occur until the job has been finished.

James Gleeson: Oh, really?

Les Kossatz: This one I think would have been done actually after the event. In fact, I think it’s done from a bronze. There’s a little bronze of that piece, which from memory either occurred during the process and then the drawing would have come from that. Yes, I think it did actually from memory. I think I decided that I’d do a little bronze at the same time as doing the major piece.

 

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