Installing the Mirage Bird by E. Frink

McMaster Museum of Art acquired Mirage Bird around 1993, displaying and storing the sculpture indoors.  The museum wished to move the aluminum sculpture outdoors by the end of November 2013, in keeping with the artist’s original intent.  In consultation with CSMO, McMaster Museum of Art decided to anchor the sculpture to an elevated concrete pad, which was cast in place as per CSMO’s specifications.

Mirage bird dimensions5

The cast aluminum sculpture varies in thickness, with a minimum depth of 3 cm.

The sculpture is in excellent condition and during XRF testing by our friend H.F. (Gus) Shurvell @ Art Conservation Program, Queen’s University the metal was determined to be an aluminum alloy from the 6000 series (99.8% aluminum), common in foundry aluminum castings.

Due to the nature of the aluminum sculpture, it was important that the sculpture’s outer surface was protected from the elements prior to its relocation outdoors and that the sculpture was well anchored.

High density foam washers and stainless steel nuts were used to secure the sculpture’s base down (Fig.2.5).  The washers ensure there is no contact between the SS steel bolts and the aluminum artwork.


The concrete footing was realized by Bravo Cement Contracting Inc. and the sculpture was installed by CSMO, assisted by sculptor, Matt Walker and the wonderful hosts.

Here are few images that our generous host and senior curator at the museum Ihor Holubizky took: Frink treatment_3128csfccB Frink install_3175csfccFrink install_3213csfcc

You can read more about the project and see more images on the McMaster Museum of Art Blog

A bit more about the sculptor: Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993) was born in Suffolk, England and studied under British sculptor Bernard Meadows at the Chelsea School of Art.[1]  Though she is internationally recognized for her monumental sculptures in both Britain and overseas, she was also a printmaker and produced etchings and lithographs for illustrated books.  In 1963, Frink’s bird-like sculptures first appeared in the cult science fiction film The Damned. [2]  The long-legged creatures from this series were further simplified over time, creating the Mirage sculptures: wingless, towering, amorphous creatures.  These bird-like sculptures were produced until 1969, constructing moulds of plaster over an iron framework.