Photo-worthy installation ‘engaging’ people in marriage and art
Warwick Smith / Stuff
Manawatū-born artist and architect Matt Liggins sits in his installation, The Vitruvian Tunnel, which opens in Te Manawa on Tuesday.
A light exhibit sparking conversations about the world’s architectural history will illuminate Te Manawa this week.
From Tuesday, visitors will be able to interact with The Vitruvian Tunnel – a photoworthy installation committed to within its walls.
Presented in a luminous sculpture of wood and reflective surfaces, the work incorporates a circle and a square within an equilateral triangle, which expands to form a square tunnel.
Tokomaru-raised artist and architect Matt Liggins said he built the tunnel based on Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.
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He used the average height of a New Zealand man, 1.77m, to build the tunnel, much like the original.
Liggins was a professional teacher at the University of Auckland School of Architecture and said he envisioned a space where art and architecture meet.
But, what he didn’t expect was some of the antics the work would invoke.
“While it was on tour, a couple got engaged there one night, which was really cool.
“Actually there were a few crazy things, like a drunken couple fell through one of the roof panels, and I had to fix it. It was quite hectic.
Wood and polycarbonate were used to create the tunnel’s triangular and rectangular tubes.
A circular opening served as a transition between the two materials and LED light strips were used to frame the structure.
The triangular section of the installation had toured various music and light festivals around the country, however, it was the first time since 2019 that the whole structure had come together again.
When completed, the structure was 12m long and 6m high.
“It looks a lot like a small prefab house, so in theory you could live in it.”
Having the option to display the tunnel in an indoor location in Te Manawa was a dream come true, Liggins said, as it would not depend on the weather for visitors to enjoy the experience.
“It’s perfect because inside it can be dark, day or night, without the weather getting in the way.
“It also means that I can display all the hand drawings and construction drawings in glass boxes, so it’s more of an exhibition.”
Te Manawa would take the opportunity to organize other events alongside him, including a children’s disco, a drag life drawing event and an architecture activity.
Liggins would also give an artist talk near the end of the exhibition, which closed on December 2.
“It’s the kind of thing people can come and immerse themselves in and interact with and take some really cool pictures with their friends and whānau, so hopefully everyone will come down and enjoy it.”