Often today it seems the line between follies and works of art in public places, is increasingly blurred. With fewer opportunities to build permanent follies, in urban environments, artists and architects are constructing temporary sculptures and fanciful buildings which reference the past and the future to stir our imagination.
One such artist is the Auckland based “tactile archivist” John Radford, a man haunted by the ghosts of destroyed buildings. Radford has made it his occupation to document the buildings of old Auckland just before the bulldozers move in. The spirit of these old buildings are evoked in TIP, a sculpture/folly/ruins collection in Ponsonby’s Western Park which was his initial response to the redeveloped city. TIP comprises replicas of details of three buildings demolished in the Eighties, embedded in the ground.
But even there things are not what they seem. The installation includes Teatube,a “hidden interior work” located within VIC, the sculpture closest to the park’s northern corner on Ponsonby Road. Through a 2 inch window viewers can glimpse the Sky Room inspired by the tea room at the top of the Milne & Choyce Building, a department store demolished in 1984. “It was the most lavish interior that Auckland has ever had.”
Disembodied bits of Auckland city sit within this mythic interior and replicas of an aged elevator engine sit in the tunnel alluding to floors below or above.
Find out more about John Radford and his work at http://www.johnradford.co.nz/index.php/Artists-CV.html (To find out more about Teatube look in the heading “Interior Interior Works”).