Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Watch this space

In Christchurch last week we stumbled on this construction site at the junction of Colombo, High and Hereford Streets. As you can see from the architect’s impression, it looks as though part of the refurbishment includes a sculpture, and that they have something thin and tall in mind. We’ve arrowed what looks like it might be the stand in. The site was originally home to the Stewart Fountain created by fiery Ilam sculpture lecturer Laurence Karasek in 1967-68. The commission had been awarded to Ria Bancroft but the Christchurch Civic Trust changed its choice to Karasek. The Stewart Fountain was never a great success and a replacement was commissioned in 1996. This mad Edwardian colour extravaganza with curved terrazzo panels, organised by then-Mayor Vicki Buck, lasted for an even shorter period. It was ordered to be removed in July last year as part of a clean-up by the City Council. Amazingly 14 people were arrested in August this year attempting to stop the destruction. You can watch a video of the action here. As to Laurence Karasek, he’s back in the USA. Now he’s a painter, he is also founder of the John Laurence Art School in Fredericksburg, Texas where he teaches.

While we were in Christchurch, we asked around about who had been selected to put in a proposal for this troubled site but drew a blank. Anyone with some thoughts, drop us an email and we’ll spread the word. Experience suggests that small busy sites like this one tend to get something tall and pointy, something small, or something up in the air and out of the way. We’ll keep you posted.