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In 2016, Ronnie van Hout installed his rudely pink, five-metre-high sculpture, Quasi, on the roof of Christchurch Art Gallery. No longer required, it came to haunt City Gallery’s roof on August 19, 2019. Based on scans of his own body, it collaged his face and his left hand to create a hybrid figure. Van Hout describes it as 'a surrealist artwork'. He said, 'a hand and a head placed together creates this other third thing ... It was uncanny and funny and strange ... it came together'. 

Standing on two fingers, Quasi surveys the city and its inhabitants. Is it friend or foe, fiend or superhero? 

The name is a deft word play. As a prefix, Quasi implies either 'partly; almost' or 'apparently, but not really'. Of course, the name also alludes to Quasimodo in Victor Hugo's 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. A partly blind, partly deaf, barely verbal, deformed church-bell ringer, he was feared as a monster, but found sanctuary in love - he was a great romantic hero. 
Just as Quasimodo was misjudged, the good people of Christchurch did similarly with Van Hout's sculpture, as it stared out over their wrecked, healing city. Interpretations-defences and critiques-abounded. It became the talk of the town. A mirror. Wellingtonians can definitely see past ugly faces, with Quasi scheduled to remain in place for only 3 years, 5 years later Quasi continues to preside over Civic square, but only until June, 2024.

A joint project with City Gallery, and supported by Wellington City Council, Wellington Community Trust, and Richard Burrell.

Article: Not Quite Human

Ronnie van Hout talks to Lara Strongman