Thursday, November 12, 2015

Having a ball

Has any New Zealand sculpture become as iconic as Neil Dawson’s Ferns? Over the years we have posted a number of examples of how the work has come to symbolise Wellington. It was a bit of a shock then when it came down and it was reported that a replacement would be required rather than a fix-up. So good news when visiting Neil Dawson’s studio last week to see a small model of Ferns on his desk and Neil working on how to produce a more robust version of the sculpture. That's not going to be as easy as you might think as there's a lot of pressure to have the replacement look as much like the original as possible and Neil is determined to retain Ferns' lightness and ethereal grace. There are certainly some complicated design problems to sort out. Coincidentally, driving up the Island yesterday, we saw the original Ferns where it has been stored.  When you see it on the ground, the size and the weight are pretty dominant and the memory of it serenely hanging in space above Civic Square even more impressive.

Images: top, Neil Dawson’s studio with the original model for Ferns at the back and an experimental design model resting on the table. Bottom, the original Ferns in store in Wellington