Ronnie van Hout's mysterious sculptural figure stands on the roof of 209 Tuam Street and points skyward. Something is 'comin' down' here, but what?
Look up. Ronnie van Hout's latest self-portrait sculpture stands on the roof of 209 Tuam Street, looking down at the street while pointing up at the sky with one strangely elongated arm. Figurative sculptures usually stand on plinths in urban parks and squares. But Van Hout's figure is an ambiguous monument for a city where many sculptures have fallen. Van Hout says, 'With the title Comin' Down I wanted to capture multiple meanings. The falling down of buildings or sculptures; the idea that something in the sky is possibly coming down; and the idea that an experience is passing, and we are coming down to ground from a high point.'
Installed in April 2013 as part of Populate! – Christchurch Art Gallery's tenth-birthday programme of art around the city.
- Location: 209 Tuam Street
- Exhibition number: 945
Christchurch Art Gallery celebrates its tenth birthday with a burst of art in the city – including whopping new murals, night-time projections and sculptures where you least expect them.
Not Quite Human
Lara Strongman: The title of your new work for the Gallery is Quasi. Why did you call it that?
Ronnie van Hout: Initially it was a working title. Because the work would be outside the Gallery, on the roof, I was thinking of Quasimodo, from Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. I was coming out of a show and research around the idea of the freak, the outsider and things that are rejected—thinking about how even things that are rejected have a relationship to whatever they’ve been rejected by. And I called it Quasi, because it’s a human form that’s not quite human as well. The idea of something that resembles a human but is not quite human.
Early on Tuesday 30 April 2013, ten days before our 10th Birthday, Christchurch icon Ronnie Van Hout met up with a couple of crane operators and the gallery team, to install a new artwork entitled Comin' Down, on the roof of 209 Tuam Street.
Ronnie van Hout is the artist responsible for the mysterious figure pointing skywards that has appeared on the roof of a central city building.
Putting up Ronnie van Hout's Comin' Down in the early morning of Tuesday April 30. Big ups (so to speak) to Sean, Chris, Rebekkah, Simon, Nathan, Francis, Ronnie, Sam, the crane guys and everyone else involved. (And John Collie for the photos.)
The Rolleston, Scott and Godley statues may have toppled in the February 2011 earthquake. But never fear. In the Van Hout 'laboratory' in Christchurch Art Gallery's foyer, Ronnie, with the help of his brother Francis, is building another body for the depopulated inner city. One of the Gallery's tenth-birthday Populate! projects, it's going out -- and up -- very soon. Watch the rooftops round 209 Tuam...
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