Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Walking Through

When I was in Wellington a few weeks ago, I sat outside Victoria University's Pipitea Campus, near Bunny Sreet and watched people coming and going, weaving their way through the four sculptures that make up "Seismic Shock," a work by Auckland sculptor, Louise Purvis, installed in 2006.
I'm always interested in the way people react to public sculptures, how they acknowledge them - or not - as they pass by; how they react to other people taking an interest in elements of what may be their everyday environment. I wonder how many people who pass these elegant Carrara marble spheres on a regular basis, have actually stopped and touched them and thought about their relevance. And why did my sitting on one of them raise eyebrows and get second, sometimes admonishing looks? I would have thought Purvis would be delighted that someone had taken the time to run a hand across their smooth, silky surfaces - surfaces that in fact represent topographic gridlines, earthquakes and their disruptive effects on the landscape. Scattered, as though flung about in an earthquake, these 3.5 tonne spheres give us the chance to contemplate the precariousness of life on a faultline. That's a little too sobering for some perhaps.

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