To the lighthouse

'The interior is spellbinding and dreamily meditative'

'The interior is spellbinding and dreamily meditative'

LIGHTHOUSE: A stainless steel sculpture of explorer Lieutenant James Cook installed in contemporary sculptor Michael Parekowhai's Auckland waterfront work, The Lighthouse reflects colours from constellations of neon lights hung around the walls.

Picture by Martin D Page

Sculptor Michael Parekowhai’s $1.5 million art piece that resembles a state house on Auckland’s Queens Wharf was unveiled at a public opening on Saturday. Called The Lighthouse, the work was commissioned by real estate firm Barfoot and Thompson in 2013 to celebrate 90 years of business in Auckland.

The house is a 1:1 scale 1950s family home with a wooden exterior and a hollow, cavernous fibreglass interior constellated with neon light installations.

“It is surrounded by timber decking which brings to mind both a jetty and old world sailing ships,” Parekowhai told The New Zealand Herald.

The interior features constellations made from neon. Parekowhai has said stars in these constellations were “guiding lights for early Maori and European navigators as they voyaged the Pacific Ocean”.

Inside the house is a one tonne giant stainless steel sculpture of explorer Lieutenant James Cook. He is seated with legs dangling on a table at the centre of a polished matai timber floor.

An opening function was held on Thursday last week at nearby the waterfront venue The Cloud. A small group of people stood near the artwork to protest about Auckland’s housing crisis.

But the installation is much more than a house, says graphic designer and curator of the recent Welcome to My World: The Art of Sam Taare exhibition, Martin D Page.

“The interior is spellbinding and dreamily meditative.”

The Lighthouse recalls a similar work created in an urban area — Rachel Whiteread’s 1993 sculpture Ghost which won the Turner Prize in the same year. Whiteread and her team pumped a condemned house in northeast London, full of liquid concrete and stripped off the exterior to reveal a mould of the indoor negative space.

Like Parekowhai’s installation, the work was highly controversial.

Sculptor Michael Parekowhai’s $1.5 million art piece that resembles a state house on Auckland’s Queens Wharf was unveiled at a public opening on Saturday. Called The Lighthouse, the work was commissioned by real estate firm Barfoot and Thompson in 2013 to celebrate 90 years of business in Auckland.

The house is a 1:1 scale 1950s family home with a wooden exterior and a hollow, cavernous fibreglass interior constellated with neon light installations.

“It is surrounded by timber decking which brings to mind both a jetty and old world sailing ships,” Parekowhai told The New Zealand Herald.

The interior features constellations made from neon. Parekowhai has said stars in these constellations were “guiding lights for early Maori and European navigators as they voyaged the Pacific Ocean”.

Inside the house is a one tonne giant stainless steel sculpture of explorer Lieutenant James Cook. He is seated with legs dangling on a table at the centre of a polished matai timber floor.

An opening function was held on Thursday last week at nearby the waterfront venue The Cloud. A small group of people stood near the artwork to protest about Auckland’s housing crisis.

But the installation is much more than a house, says graphic designer and curator of the recent Welcome to My World: The Art of Sam Taare exhibition, Martin D Page.

“The interior is spellbinding and dreamily meditative.”

The Lighthouse recalls a similar work created in an urban area — Rachel Whiteread’s 1993 sculpture Ghost which won the Turner Prize in the same year. Whiteread and her team pumped a condemned house in northeast London, full of liquid concrete and stripped off the exterior to reveal a mould of the indoor negative space.

Like Parekowhai’s installation, the work was highly controversial.

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