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Eric Orr: Fire Window


Viaduct Harbour, Auckland CBD

Fire Window was the first sculpture to be installed at the Viaduct Harbour as part of an outdoor public art programme to enhance the area.

Celebrated American artist Eric Orr (1939 -1998) uses fire and water in his sculptures. Through these mediums he comments on the power of nature and the force it retains even when humankind has bulldozered through it to create urban environments. This is the theme behind Fire Window.

The urban, architectural reference is clear at this site where the sculpture echoes the long, block-like forms of the buildings that surround it. The window in the title is the cast iron window frame which stands on a 2m-high black granite base. Water flows continuously over the frame, and a window pane is suggested by heat waves sent across the space by gas jets concealed in the frame. Occasionally these ignite and the window bursts into flames. This is controlled by a concealed timing device set in a seemingly-random pattern.

The work, like nature, is unpredictable in it's power and presence. The sculptor explores how art can affect people unpredictably, just like nature. The work is particularly spectacular after dark amidst the busy nightlife of the Viaduct Harbour.

Date: 1996, cast iron, fire, water, granite.

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