Photos, Thoughts

City Sign-ing Off


City Sign, colloquially known as Hajek Plaza (or as the artist himself referred, Adelaide Urban Iconography), is a significant art piece created by artist Otto Hajek in 1973–77, it was designed to be a form of artificial garden used as a public space in conjunction with the Festival Centre.

The final space departed from his original vision, replacing coloured tiles with painted concrete and garden beds and water features significantly reduced. As such, the space never won over the public and decades of neglect, plus a poor intervention in the early 2000s that separated it from the Festival Centre, meant it became even more isolated and forgotten (except for a brief appearance as the setting of the Festival venue Barrio).

I took these images over the two days before preliminary works began to disassemble the artwork in preparation for a complete redevelopment of the area. Despite it’s polarising nature, I feel it to be an important part of Adelaide’s identity and a symbol of both an optimism and embrace of the arts in the 70s as well as an an all too common example of a compromised vision.