Government billed more than $700,000 for sculpture to be grown over by foliage

The Sideshow

An Australian artist has created a rock sculpture in the shape of an egg that resides in a remote section of one of Australia's national parks. But in an even stranger development, the Department of Environment and Resource Management has paid the artist, Andy Goldsworthy, more than $700,000 for the creation, entitled "Strangler Cairn," which in time will essentially disappear once it has been grown over by strangler fig.

The Courier-Mail reports the egg-like sculpture, made from granite and slate, resides in the Conondale National Park. The paper obtained a briefing note from the National Parks to Minister Steve Dickson, cataloging the Arts Queensland project, which runs about $731,868.

More than $342,000 of the total cost was paid directly to Goldsworthy, 58, who was flown in from Scotland for the project, while the remaining costs were listed under "production expenses." For his part, Goldsworthy's focus is on creating environmentally sustainable art pieces. On his website, he writes, "These things are all part of a transient process that I cannot understand unless my touch is also transient; only in this way can the cycle remain unbroken and the process be complete."

"Labor placed this pile of artfully arranged rocks on an offshoot of a 56 km [38.4 miles] walking track which takes experienced bushwalkers four days to cover," Dickson told the paper. "They spent well over half a million dollars of taxpayer funds on an international artist to 'enhance' a remote area with art that is designed to eventually disappear."