The Sculpture That Looks Like A Real-Life Cartoon


Once or twice a month, the private art collection at Gibbs Farm in New Zealand opens up to the public. The tickets are free, but they go very quickly. The art here in this collection isn’t just
paintings on a wall: it’s land art, made by
moving vast amounts of soil and earth, or it’s sculpture on a scale seen only in
a few places in the world. And the most famous piece
in the collection is this: Horizons, by Neil Dawson. Fifteen metres wide,
they height of a four-storey building. Depending on who you ask, it either resembles a piece of corrugated
iron blown in from a distant farm… or a giant paper tissue that’s
been thrown away. And it looks like a cartoon that’s been
sketched on the landscape, but it’s made of welded steel, and I think the thing that sells the
optical illusion best is that little spike, that little incomplete fold. Which is, yeah, actually a big spike of metal,
but from a distance, your brain just doesn’t see that. This was one of the first pieces commissioned
for Gibbs Farm. And it was commissioned: Alan Gibbs,
who owns this farm and the art on it, is one of the wealthiest folks to come from
New Zealand. And rather than collect art that
had already been made, he hired internationally famous artists and sculptors and said, in short: here’s some money.
Make me a thing that’ll go here. This farm is basically
one rich millionaire’s playground. Heck, it was originally bought as a
fairly remote place to drive a collection of vintage military
vehicles. The art came second. In a 2017 interview with the Wall Street Journal,
Gibbs said: “It’s not a public park.
It’s not a charity. “I’m happy to let people see it,” he said, “but it’s still primarily
a family holiday retreat.” Of course, everything here is well documented;
you can look online and see every sculpture from
basically every angle possible. But if you actually want to stand here and
experience that optical illusion for yourself, if the feeling of being here,
in person, is important to you… well, Gibbs Farm is only open occasionally. You’ll have to join the rest of
in the queue for tickets.

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