Monday, March 24, 2014

Move, move, move

Without our link to Len Lye it's hard to imagine that Wellington would have commissioned a bunch of kinetic sculptures. Auckland was a step ahead with Michio Ihara’s Wind Tree produced for the Auckland International Sculpture Symposium in 1971 and now installed in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter. Ten years later they also purchased George Rickey’s Double-L Excentric Gyratory to coincide with Andrew Bogle’s exhibition Chance and Change. Today it's installed alongside the Gallery.

Commissioning kinetic sculpture is one thing though, and looking after them is something else entirely as Wellington is discovering. Leon Van Den Eijkel Urban forest has only rarely spun on all cylinders, Phil Dadson’s Akau Tangi is often a few spinners down and even though it's up and running again after a long break, Len Lye’s Water Whirler only gives out the ghost of its intended performance. 

Now one of the most successful (kinetically speaking) of Wellington's sculptures, Phil Price's Zephyrometer, has been dismantled for maintenance. Peering at the housing laid out on the ground though it looks as if the strain on the base has ripped at the sculpture’s skin. Who knows how long it will be down but the problem appears a little more serious than a quick clean and oil job.

Soon New Plymouth will have a whole museum devoted to kinetic sculpture with its Len Lye Centre. Kinetic sculpture in NZ has become a movement.

Images: top, Zephyrometer laid out for repair. Middle, damage to the housing and bottom, in case you have never seen the point of Zephyrometer, here it is.