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Fault

Artist Ralph Hotere and Bill Culberth
Year
Location Fluorescent lights crossing behind the City Gallery's windows that face Civic Square
Tour directions Turn right to look at the windows of the City Gallery facing Civic Square (best at night)

All Shook Up

75% of Wellington residents live within 10 km of the Wellington Fault running through the heart of the city. Wellington is long overdue for a big quake.

Sculpture background

Fault was installed in 1994 when the Gallery moved into the former library building.The sculpture was made specifically for this location. It is a light sculpture, representing the city's location on an earthquake fault line.

Fault consists of white diagonal fluorescent lights crossing behind the City Gallery's windows that face the Civic Square.  The dark background and the bright white light are symbolic of the bicultural nature of New Zealand society. Fault is most striking at night.

Wellington poet, Bill Manhire described the sculpture in the booklet Fault (1994) under the headings inscribed on the outside of the building (which used to be the public library): Philosophy, Religion, Sociology, Science, Useful Arts, Commerce, Fine Arts, and History.

"Whose fault is it? There are two of them (two artists/two lines) and probably they are both at fault. That is, though they would not choose to be called collaborators, they have certainly drawn the line between them. Those dark rectangles of glass might have their history in canvas or hardboard or corrugated iron.

Like any Hotere painting, the blacker they become, the more they seem to entertain reflection. And that lifting line of light, the neon, has made its way along other corridors, in other countries, in and out of the Culbert family suitcase. Sky and cloud step out at either end." (Bill Manhire, Fault, 1994)