30 April, 2017

Scale is everything

I went to visit Gibbs farm last thursday.

Gibbs Farm is not a farm. Not really. It is a world class outdoor sculpture  gallery on the Kaipara harbour, just north of Auckland.

It opens only a few times a year , often as a fundraiser , so I jumped at the opportunity to visit last thusrday. It required a 5 am start. People, that was hard. I am NOT a morning person.I had invited Di Tocker (the glassmaker) along because she knows her sculpture stuff and I needed some education. When you are going to spend 8+ hours in a car, travel with a person who is interesting and can navigate. It took us almost 4 hours to get there.

So the backstory is this: Alan Gibbs buys the farm in 1991 , establishes it as a world class sculpture park, invites artists to spend time on the farm and ,in collaboration, a work is commissioned and then created. Some artists have returned year after year to establish a link.....one thing is for sure. They are all quite spectacular and unique. I think it's an open chequebook kind thing.

There are big names and big works. Anish Kapoor's incredible "Dismemberment1" had my jaw dropping. I had seen it before in a catalogue, but in real life, the scale and the situation of the work in incredible. So much attention has been paid to the work that even the triangle of grass that lies underneath the sculpture is planted in a low growing, shade loving grass, to maintain the artists vision of the red over green....so sandy, scruffy patches!!!
Andy Goldsworthy's Arches were half submerged, but there was a great photo in the book.It was the only one I did not see at close quarters.

It went on and on like that. Work after work . If I muttered "Scale is everything" once, I must have muttered it a thousand times. How deeply anchored must a 28 meter high sculpture on a ride be?! How ? I kept coming back to the mechanics of assembly and creation.How? The ideas and the translations thereof. How? So much discussion and so many questions, made my head spin. It was so very worth the 5 am start!

Some photos:

Di catching a view of the Kaipara Harbour and being my scale model.

Bernar Venen. 28 meters tall corten steel.

Len Lye's posthumously erected Windward. It could only be fabricated after his death once the technology had caught up with his vision.

Windwand and the Kaipara Harbour with what Di and I suspect is new work being created in the mangroves 

the tips of Andy Goldsworthy's Arches

Google Gibbs farm. Really. It's visionary.

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