In the grand annals of public art, creeping people right the fuck out seems to be high on the list of priorities. There’s the famous Ronaldo bust, which transformed the famous soccer player into a sneering imp creature; a Massachusetts statue of a boobed-up seagull thing; and a hometown tribute to Lucille Ball that looks like it’s about to lunge at anyone who walks too close. The latest monster to join this bewildering hall of fame has now arrived in Wellington, New Zealand after completing a journey from Christchurch where, we must presume, it had to leave after sucking up all the psychic energy the locals had to offer.
Let us now introduce you to the sculpture in question—a giant hand with a big unsmiling face on it named Quasi.
As noted by Wellington City Council’s Twitter account, Quasi is a “five metre tall hand-face sculpture by artist Ronnie Van Hout” that has completed a 3-year vigil over Christchurch and now looks disapprovingly over the people of Wellington. While it’s much more fun to imagine the 16-foot tall Quasi walking from city to city, ball cap shielding its ugly, browless mug from the sun, the statue—all 400 kilograms (roughly 882 pounds)—was brought via helicopter to its current perch atop City Gallery Wellington.
How long it will remain there is anybody’s guess, but we expect it may dig itself back into the earth’s interior from whence it was formed when Wellington has proven itself satisfactory to the stern, unknowable mind of Quasi.
There’s very little to say about Quasi that its unnervingly realistic face, emerging like a slightly-less grotesque version of Total Recall’s Kuato from a severed hand, doesn’t say on its own. Instead, it’s best to be thankful for the small mercies granted by Van Hout, its Frankensteinian creator. Consider, for example, a version of Quasi that was made of a giant, hairy, overgrown-toenail-ed foot. Suddenly, the hand-monster seems downright pleasant.
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