Friday, May 30, 2014

FSO - Sculptures

I tried to resist.  Honest I did.  I even went out and took photos of other sculptures, ones I've never had on the blog before.  Like this thing, oops, artwork, which stands outside Forum North, the civic centre in town.  

But no matter what sculptures I photographed, none of them compared in my mind to those at Gibbs Farm.

I first blogged about Alan Gibbs' farm in December, 2009 and again in December, 2012 and there has also been the occasional photo taken from the road.  I said in 09 that my preferred route to Auckland was not via State Highway One but rather the less popular SH16 which twists and turns, following the Kaipara Harbour most of the way.  I still prefer to have a second rate road to myself than to share a first rate road with others.  Still prefer the road less travelled.

One of the big attractions for me about SH16 is the 1,000 acre property, modestly named Gibbs Farm, owned by millionaire Alan Gibbs.  He bought the windswept site in 1991. Since then, he has commissioned sculptures featuring original works by local and internationally renowned artists.

My fascination with the place has been growing since 2001 when a huge wall appeared on the landscape.  I now know it's dimensions - 252 metres longs x 6m x 50mm, made from 56 Corten steel plates.  It has always looked huge to me and now that I've stood beside it, I am even more impressed by it.  And it leans out by 11 degrees from the vertical.  And, contrary to how it looks from the road, it has beautiful sensual curves.   

In late Nov/early Dec 2012 my friend Chris announced she had gained access for us to an Open Day at Gibbs Farm and I tried to prepare myself for a little disappointment - surely nothing could live up to my expectations.   Hah!  It was all I dreamed it would be - and more.

The farm the place used to be didn't warrant a second look.  Since falling into Mr Gibbs' hands it has become a place of beauty.  It's a sculpture park like no other.  The scale of the sculptures are deceptively disguised by the scale of the landscape but approaching them on foot, they grow and become more and more impressive as you draw near. 

 Bermar Venet - 88.5 ARCx8 2012 (on the far right) as seen from the road

I've known this one as the steel struts since it appeared on the skyline a few years ago.  Above, as one sees it from the front gate and below, up close.  The size of it up close just took my breath away.  I felt dizzy looking to the top.  Each of the 8 pieces of Corten steel are 27 metres long, 0.75m square. 

I posted this collage in 2012. My favourite was the one in the bottom right hand corner below, named Floating Island of the Immortals. 

The little handbook we were given said this work was "inspired by monumental office block sculptures in Beijing and feng shui landscape gardening traditions (by sculptor Zhan Wang)  Wang's scholar's rock is an enlargement of the so called "Chinese miniature landscape."  In the past, people would search for an idealistic world or immortals within these landscapes."  That sounds a bit high brow for me but there was something about this sculpture that enticed, and welcomed contemplation.  It mesmerised as it moved ever so gently on the water. 

To say thank you, Alan Gibbs, falls way short. He allows the public to visit, for free, by prior appointment, about once a month.  It blows me away that I've visited one of the world's leading sculpture parks - and it cost me nothing.  I've been up close to monumental art works by some of the world's most famous artists - and I only had to travel an hour or so.  

I'm sure this topic is going to bring some wonderful sculptures to my notice.  I will be checking to find them here.


  1. Impressive and fascinating. I have never seen anything like it. But you are correct in that you need to display work like this on a massive scale.

  2. If i'm every graced with a visit to your beautiful country, i'm going to have to at least drive by and see Gibbs Farm.

  3. It is an amazing place. You can post as often as you like for me.

  4. We need many more Alan Gibbs in the world. We also need many more people like you to appreciate what Alan Gibbs is giving us.

  5. I never tire of seeing them Pauline although the first one is one I could happily forget.

  6. Mr Gibbs has done a wonderful thing - the undulating land itself is sculptural, but to add all of this is amazing.

  7. Floating Island of the Immortals... wow! What a cool name. I love that view of it in the middle of three ponds.
    The whole park is amazing. Wish we had something like that here. I would love to walk through a "gallery" like this.
    Thanks for the ride.

  8. I was struck with your sculpture!The highly towering statue looks gorgeous in the blue sky. Actually the statue reminds me of the" tower in the sun" by Japanese artist"Taro Okamoto. " The park is so beautiful. I see the large space has been taken care well for inhabitants and visitors as well.
    I will look forward to seeing you again.
    Have a good weekend.

  9. my, what a beautiful location!

  10. What a great visit for you. You wonder how some people fall into the hobbies that they do, but it must be nice to have the funds to pursue your interests like that.

  11. It must be a truly awesome sight in real life (as even just the photos from a distance gives us the idea of it).

  12. I am going through my followers list and I apologise I have not visited you - I have been away from BlogLand for a while and blogged intermiyently after I lost my dear wife last year.

    I am signing up to you as well.

    Fascinating place in your post - loved the lakes and statue in particular.

    I am hosting a reunion ball at my last but one post and you are cordially invited

  13. Mr Gibbs is extraordinary in his generosity and the place is mind blowing! A fabulous post Pauline!

  14. Pauline, this is spectacular! Wow! Just wow.


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