Friday 30 March 2012: Loafers; by Francis Upritchard, 2012 (Detail)
Yesterday evening the lovely S and I went to a play at the Maidment Theatre at the University of Auckland, entitled The Next Room (aka The Vibrator Play). Marvellously funny with a powerful message about how society/culture serves to control and devalue women. As well as thoroughly enjoying the play, we were delighted to meet a couple from our past. Our ways had diverged, for many reasons, and it was good to renew what was and may again be a warm and stimulating relationship.
On the way home by taxi, meaning I could look around, I noticed a new set of bronze statuettes on the Symonds Street overbridge. Feeling certain they had not been there until recently, I took my morning run past there this morning, and took a few photographs. In the predawn darkness, it was hard to capture the whole piece, and so I have chosen one of the details.
There are three of these concrete plinths with bronze figures on top. One has three humanoids, a second has two humanoids and one snake, while this one has one humanoid and three snakes. This humanoid differs from the others in being more obviously erect, and clothed. And I have just fully noticed that the humanoid is holding a snake in the left hand.
I looked for information and will paste below edited extracts from a publicity release a few days before the sculpture was unveiled on 07 March 2012 in time for the start of the University year.
Sited in Auckland's Learning Quarter is a new public artwork, entitled Loafers, by renowned New Zealand sculptor Francis Upritchard. Upritchard, now based in London, is an influential artist with a growing international reputation. This project is part of the Learning Quarter Public Art Plan, which is a partnership led by Auckland Council in conjunction with the University of Auckland, AUT and the Committee for Auckland. Loafers depicts a series of bronze figures atop shaped concrete plinths.
"The Loafers plinths reference important ceramic artist Lucie Rie," says Francis Upritchard.
The unique and thought provoking Loafers will be a permanent feature of the Learning Quarter. It is a unique and site-specific sculpture, brought to life through New Zealand foundry, concrete and engineering expertise.
I am pleased that I saw this last evening, and that I went back to look at it with fresh morning eyes today.