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Dutch Artists Bring New Life To Christchurch

Dutch Artists Bring New Life To Christchurch

An artwork resembling a giant sperm takes centre stage in Cathedral Square.

The work, named Darwin, is one of 25 by 15 different national and international artists being exhibited around the city for six weeks in the SCAPE 2008 Christchurch Biennial of Art in Public Space.

Darwin is a 25-metre long fibreglass sculpture and is large enough for people to move around inside – in fact it will serve as the SCAPE information centre during the exhibition.

Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout, from the group Atelier van Lieshout, says the work represents inner-city revitalization.

“The work implies power, status, expansion and reproduction. Darwin reflects social Darwinism ideas and the need for survival in all aspects of our lives, whether it be biological or corporate,” he says.

Deborah McCormick, Director of the Art & Industry Biennial Trust, says “The sculpture ties in well with the exhibition’s theme Wandering Lines: Towards a New Culture of Space. Like the other works, it will challenge people’s perceptions of the cultural and urban texture of a city.

“We’ve heard comments from visiting artists that the centre of our city needs some new life injected into it, so this work is one way to do that for the next few weeks."

“Just as a sperm can fertilise an egg, we hope the presence of this work will reinvigorate life into Cathedral Square."

In the spring edition of 'Artnews' van Lieshout described his recent practice, "Lately I'm interested in the sculpture of the human body, in and outside. You are always very close to the human body, for instance your own body. It is a mystery, how the organs are shaped as they are. From a design point of view they are a magnificent work."



The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Wellington, in cooperation with the Mondriaan Foundation in Amsterdam, is pleased to participate in the 5th SCAPE Christchurch Biennial of Art in Public Space by bringing the work of two Dutch artists to Christchurch. Elma van Boxel and Kristian Koreman of the architectural group – Zones Urbaines Sensibles (ZUS) and Joep van Lieshout, founder of Atelier van Lieshout (AVL).

Working with the Mondriaan Foundation to bring the artists to Christchurch and supporting the production of new contemporary artworks is part of our mission to foster cultural relations between our two countries and to provide a broad range of information about the Netherlands to New Zealanders.

The Netherlands has a long history of celebrating diversity, embracing community and exploring the latest developments in art in the public sphere. SCAPE 2008: Wandering Lines: Towards a New Culture of Space is ample evidence that New Zealanders share those goals and ideals. We congratulate SCAPE and the people of Christchurch on the success of this Biennial of Art in Public Space.

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands


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