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Be the judge: terrifying and gross – or just weird and quirky?

August 21, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Terrifying, gross, nightmarish, intrusive and creepy are among terms applied to a bizarre new sculpture, newly installed in a prominent position in one of New Zealand’s top tourist cities – creating a whirlwind of controversy to rival the winds that customarily whip through that nation’s capital.

Wellington, capital of New Zealand, is known for its strong breezes, its film industry and its quirky sense of humour.

The face-hand sculpture, named ‘Quasi’, is supposed to attract more people to Te Ngākau Civic Square, where it perches on top of City Gallery Wellington. The strange apparition has been frightening a few people and creating amusement among tourists since being installed this week.

The hand is disturbingly realistic and the fingernails are downright spooky. Some people swear they see Donald Trump in the face. Others just find the whole thing repellent.

It’s big. Five by three metres. A creation of local artist Ronnie van Hout, the sculpture previously spent some time atop the Christchurch Art Gallery building.

van Hout describes Quasi as “the artist’s hand made giant”. Observers see echoes of the crawling, disembodied hands of old horror films, such as The Crawling Hand, a 1963 American science fiction film directed by Herbert L. Strock.

Wellington’s Dominion Post newspaper says locals have failed to warm to the artwork, even though it has been making headlines around the world. “Nightmare hand sculpture installed on rooftop terrifies locals,” was the New York Post’s headline.

People passing through Wellington’s Civic Square on Tuesday described Quasi as “intrusive”, “creepy”, and “terrifying”.

On social media, Quasi has been called “nightmarish”, “hideous” and “gross”.

“It’s staring into my soul,” someone posted.

The Dominion Post found one passer-by in Civic Square who said he liked the new sculpture. There’s always someone.

Written by Peter Needham

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