Tango Dancers

2014, Auckland, New-Zealand
ca. 15 x 25 x 15 m

About five years ago I first showed my design for the Tango Dancers to Alan Gibbs. I am very honoured that I am allowed to create a second work on the estate The Farm of Alan, The Mermaid bridge being the first. Since designing with such a long distance between artist and location is always difficult, I was very pleased that I could travel to London and show Alan two Tango Dancers and by means of sketches show the difficulty of the curved shapes in the top of the sculptures. It is very pleasant that Alan has a sensibility for these matters and radiates confidence that all technical issues will be dealt with adequately by his engineer Peter Boardman.


Subsequently I got an invitation to visit The Farm in New Zealand, where I was warmly welcomed by Alan, Noel Lane (architect and director of The Farm) and Peter Boardman. There were informed talks about the difficulty of the sculptures, whom could produce this work and what should be the location. Alan lovingly showed me two spots during this time, which eventually were both cancelled in favour of another location. The pearl Tango Dancers are now glimmering near the Te Tuhirangi Contour of Richard Serra made of corten steel.

photo by David Hartley

The tango is a dance that originates from Argentina in 2/4 or 4/8 time, with syncopation (ejections or omissions). I think the most tender part of this dance is the touching of the forearms of the dance partners. However, my sculptures in New Zealand are shy and only touch each other with the foot…

The pearl coating of the Tango Dancers has been designed with the beautiful pearl shells that can be found in the Kaipara Harbour in mind. The paint system is specially developed for the Tango Dancers and consist out of at least 4 layers, whereas one of the last layers contains small particles that twinkle in the sun. This way the Tango Dancers can look slightly bluish in the morning, yellow in the afternoon , while overwhelmed by a pinkish or reddish glow in the evening.

I hope the visual disorientation of the Tango Dancers are a source of joy and create a surprise on Gibbs Farm

photo by David Hartley