A room full of 50,000 floating, coloured balls arouses some odd responses in people.
"When it showed in Melbourne, I had this guy who came in and sat in front of the work for two hours. Then he came back and did it again the next day and the day after that," said Nike Savvas, whose art work Atomic: Full of Love, Full of Wonder was installed at the Art Gallery of NSW yesterday.
The spray-painted balls, attached to strings of fishing line, vibrate when wall-mounted fans are switched on, and took 10 days to install.
Savvas, 42, said she was partly inspired by the French artist George Seurat, who covered his canvas in tiny dots to create landscapes, but also admitted homesickness was an influence.
"I live in London now. I come back every year, but I get desperately nostalgic for the Australian landscape," she said, explaining that the colours are layered to represent the sky and red sand. "The shimmer it takes on when it vibrates is a bit like … heat haze. The further back you stand, the more you see it."
Savvas was among eight artists featured in the gallery's new sculpture exhibition, Adventures with Form in Space. Also on show is Jonathon Jones's 28-metre-long iceberg constructed by Damiano Bertoli, and Hany Armanious's flowing black lines of gaffer tape which are stuck on the walls.
The exhibition's curator, Wayne Tunnicliffe, said he wanted to broaden the definition of sculpture. "It's just not a statue of a man on a plinth," he said, adding that the exhibition title suggested fun. "It's saying 'come along for an adventure', which means … experimenting and trying new things."