About 60 km north of Auckland, lies a 4 sq kilometers property owned by one of New Zealand’s wealthiest businessmen, Alan Gibbs. Opened in 1991, the area, known as GIBBS FARM, is the site of a private sculpture park which features a variety of massive sculptures by 22 famous international artists.
Almost all of the sculptures in the collection were commissioned site-specific works that find a meaningful connection with the unique landscape that surrounds them, each in a peculiar way.
TE TUHIRANGI CONTOUR
The works is a vast weatherproof steel construction 257 meters long and six meters high, described by the artist as a device for “collecting and pooling the landscape”.
It bears a comparison with the 18th-century invention of the fence deep in the ground designed to encircle and separate the garden from the surrounding landscape without being visible.
DISMEMBERMENT, SITE 1
Created from blood-red PVC sheeting stretched between two giant metal rings, the sculpture has a myriad of meanings. It appears as a huge swollen ear that listens to the land and sea, a huge trumpet calling faraway travelers or a stem of a bright red flower. It could otherwise be seen as a gigantic vulva, suggests a maternal creature born from the all-bearing earth, a protective, but sexually alluring mother.
The painted steel, trompe-l’oil sculpture is the only one that can be seen from the road underneath the area and it seats on one of the highest points in the property.
The concrete blocks minimalist sculpture comprises in several intriguing paradoxes: it is comprised of many small units and yet it is a single form; it is conceptually simple but perceptually complex; and while it is unequivocally sculpture, its scale and form are highly suggestive of architecture.
The installation is made of Scottish stone quarried from a place close to Gibbs’s family origins. It sinks deep into the sand, creating different effects wether the tide rises or recedes, intimating natural occurrences: tides, streams, and weather systems and suggesting that art is only ever temporary and subject to the laws of nature.
Marijke De Goey
The building of the work which bridges an artificial lake, relied on the expertise of the engineering team at the farm, thus demonstrating the way in which Gibbs operates as collector, commissioner and sometimes producer of the artworks.
The work is made of long bright red lances of LED placed among the Eucalyptus grove. It is a playful evocation of a festive gateway to the Wild West.
RED CLOUD CONFRONTATION IN LANDSCAPE
Leon Van Den Eijkel