Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Romancing Maria

Kinetic sculptures are the bane of public art museums with their I-won’t-start engines and is-that-metal-fatigue-I–see-before-me? fractures. Install one of these ADHD sculptures outdoors and you are talking repair to the power of ten. In Wellington – where we pitch sculptors up against winds that are world famous – there is a predictable ongoing repair cost for a bourgeoning family of outdoor works. The proposed amount to keep things spinning, turning and swaying on cue for 2007-08 was $50,000 (but that was the estimate made in 2003, the last time the Wellington City Council updated its Asset Management Plan for outdoor public sculpture).

Of course Andrew Drummond’s whirling windo-metre Tower of Light has suffered more from vandals breaking its coloured neons than the wind busting its ball bearings, as has Len Lye’s Waterwhirler which has been bent out of shape at least once by human intervention. Recently Phil Price’s work Zephyrometer has needed work and Leon Van den Eijkel’s Urban Forest has only recently returned from the repair shop to spin again (and that neatly segues into the lookalike that sparked this post). One sculpture that has made peace with the weather and people of Wellington is Kon Dimopoulos‘s Pacific Grass, clumps of rods that sensibly bend and sway with the wind.

Image Leon Van den Eijkel’s Urban Forest restored and a look alike in transit.