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2006 Media Releases - Events - JOHN COBURN'S CURTAIN OF THE SUN AND CURTAIN OF THE MOON RETURN TO SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

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Issued Friday, 24 November 2006

SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE PRESENTS
JOHN COBURN'S CURTAIN OF THE SUN AND CURTAIN OF THE MOON RETURN TO SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

Free Viewing
Sunday 3 & Sunday 10 December 2006

One of Australia’s best known artists, John Coburn, died on November 7, aged 81.

In tribute to Coburn, Sydney Opera House will display the two monumental works for which he is perhaps most remembered – the Curtain of the Sun and the Curtain of the Moon, in the two venues for which they were created.

Coburn’s son Stephen said today, “Many galleries across Australia have put works of my father on display since his passing. This is a wonderful tribute to his memory and makes me feel as though he’s still with us all.”

Sydney Opera House Chief Executive, Norman Gillespie added, “We are delighted to be able to make this gesture as a tribute to the artist John Coburn by displaying these two extraordinary works.”

When Sydney Opera House opened in 1973, Coburn’s Curtain of the Sun was hung in the proscenium of the Opera Theatre and the Curtain of the Moon hung similarly in the Drama Theatre. Originally commissioned in 1970 and regarded by some as his masterpieces, the tapestries were woven in Aubusson, France, where Coburn lived for three years from 1969.

Over the years, the substantial staging requirements of various users of the Opera Theatre and Drama Theatre and the hanging mechanisms themselves were not always able to accommodate the tapestries and, to avoid permanent damage, they were eventually put into storage. In 1995, after examination by Coburn’s son Stephen, the Victorian Tapestry Workshop was contracted to undertake substantial and necessary repairs.

While being examined at the Workshop it was discovered that the way in which they had been woven, together with the delicate condition of the fabric, would not allow for the tapestries to be hung as originally intended. Although now fully restored, these works of art are now so valuable that the overriding priority is to protect them from the unavoidable damage which would occur if they were regularly used in the two theatres.

Now these Coburn masterpieces are back in their home venues for a limited time only. From 10am to 4pm on Sunday 3 and Sunday 10 December, the Opera Theatre and the Drama Theatre will be open free of charge so that everyone can experience the beauty and scale of this precious part of Sydney Opera House and Australian heritage.

Details: John Coburn’s Curtain of the Sun and Curtain of the Moon.
Free viewings open to the general public
Venues: Opera Theatre (Curtain of the Sun) & Drama Theatre (Curtain of the Moon)
Dates: Sunday 3 & Sunday 10 December
Times: 10.00am to 4.00pm

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