Jon Barlow Hudson’s Expo 88 sculptures

Jon Barlow Hudson is an American sculptor who specialises in large public works of stone and steel.  In the 1980’s he was commissioned to create two large sculptures for Expo 88 in Brisbane, Queensland, both of which in many ways have become iconic symbols of the event.

John Barlow Hudson with posterboard model of the Paradigm sculpture, 1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. In copyright. Image 28876-0095-0001

John Barlow Hudson with posterboard model of the Paradigm sculpture, 1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. In copyright. Image 28876-0095-0001

The Paradigm statue was a 30 metre high stainless steel construction which towered over the Expo site from its location outside the USA Pavilion.  Paradigm was inspired by the double helix of a DNA molecule.  During Expo it included 66 aeroplane landing lights installed in its openings for night-time illumination making it a familiar sight rising over the South Brisbane landscape.  In 2015 the sculpture Paradigm Maquette was installed in front of the State Library of Queensland.  This much smaller sculpture by Jon Barlow Hudson is a sectional model of the original Paradigm sculpture.

Men welding and grinding a section of the Paradigm sculpture in Brisbane Queensland, ca. 1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. In ciopyright. Image 28876-0026-0001

Men welding and grinding a section of the Paradigm sculpture in Brisbane Queensland, ca. 1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. In ciopyright. Image 28876-0026-0001

The second Expo 88 sculpture, Morning Star II, was constructed of mirror polished stainless steel with a fifteen metre diameter.  The sculpture had the basic model of a tetrahedron (triangular pyramid) and according to the artist is symbolic of symmetry and centre.  During Expo 88 Morning Star II was located centrally in Times Square.  After Expo 88 it was reinstalled in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens.

Section of the Morning Star II sculpture in an open transport crate at the World Expo 88 site at South Bank Queensland, 1988. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. In copyright. Image 28876-0087-0001

Section of the Morning Star II sculpture in an open transport crate at the World Expo 88 site at South Bank Queensland, 1988. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. In copyright. Image 28876-0087-0001

In January 2015, the State Library of Queensland received Jon Barlow Hudson’s original papers relating to these sculptures.  This collection includes a number of photographs and slides documenting the construction and installation of the works.  These images trace the sculptures from their inception, through their fabrication offsite and subsequent transportation to the Expo precinct at South Brisbane.  The sculptures’ preparation and installation is also pictured, as are views of the completed works in situ.  These images and a selection of sketches have now been made digitally available and can be found via our One Search catalogue.

View of the World Expo 88 site including the Paradigm sculpture taken from the Victoria Bridge at South Bank Queensland, 1988. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. In copyright. Image 28876-0073-0001

View of the World Expo 88 site including the Paradigm sculpture taken from the Victoria Bridge at South Bank Queensland, 1988. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. In copyright. Image 28876-0073-0001

R. Hillier – Original Materials Librarian, State Library of Queensland