A “terrifying” five-metre tall sculpture of a hand with a face has been flown in from the South Island to perch on top of a contemporary art gallery in the New Zealand capital of Wellington.
It fixes passers by with a disapproving expression. Meant to liven up the Civic Square that was damaged in a 2016 earthquake, the work has instead alarmed and terrified locals, who have described the work as “a Lovecraftian nightmare [that] has come to life”.
The work, called Quasi, is by Melbourne-based New Zealand artist Ronnie van Hout, who made the “partial self-portrait” to sit in his home town of Christchurch following the devastating 2011 earthquake.
It was installed on the roof of the Wellington City Gallery via helicopter on Monday and is scheduled to remain for a three-year residency.
excuse me wellington
WHAT IN THE FUCK IS THIS NIGHTMARE pic.twitter.com/UbFQaFCLPk
August 19, 2019
Breaking: Wellington man pulls off most complicated fingerboard trick ever using giant hand and helicopter. pic.twitter.com/hLppKQkVJL
August 19, 2019
Despite an apparent resemblance, the gallery says the statue, which was first unveiled in 2016, is not intended to depict US president Donald Trump.
“The giant hybrid face-hand is based on scans of the artist’s own body parts,” reads a description of the work on the gallery’s website. “It’s as if ‘the hand of the artist’ has developed a monstrous life of its own.”
The polystyrene and resin sculpture is also a reference to Quasimodo, Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No—Quasi has landed! This morning, Ronnie van Hout’s Quasi was installed on our roof. Quasi is a joint project with Wellington Sculpture Trust, with support from Wellington City Council, Wellington Community Trust, and Richard Burrell. pic.twitter.com/9MaHc9gB71
August 18, 2019
It has been…