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Lawrie Forbes Works

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Lawrie Works

I See a Bridge of Zeal, the first piece of symbolic sculpture created by Lawrie, takes the element of seeing art in steelwork, and uses the 100 year old riveted bridge intersection as a tribute to the boilermakers of the time, and their riveting skills. This is blended with 130 year old steel from the Kensington gas accumulator which was used to make the base plate, and was finished with letters hand cut and welded into place.

This work is made from a section of the top arch (chord) of the original Dunedin Railway Station footbridge and symbolizes both the death and rebirth of the bridge, showing his company’s involvement in the whole process. The top arch section is poised as if in a dive similar to that of the Titanic hull after it split in two and began its death plunge – in this case into the earth. The position also represents the birth of the new bridge as it strives to stand upright and take the place of its predecessor. The intersection at the base of the work is representative of the intersections on the bridge.

Bound to the Rail features a section of the bottom of the original bridge laying across the rail lines and is symbolic of the bridge when down across the tracks after being torn from its piers. The bottom chord is bound with heavy round bar to the rails showing his companies commitment to the project from the collapse to completion. The binding is tight with knots you cannot get out of, depicting the energy and perseverance required to achieve a result when the steel for the new bridge was one month late in arrival by ship from overseas. Being granted only a 2 week extension to the contract time, the commitment was ‘binding to the rail’ with the only alternative, failure and penalty.

The lines at the top of the work represent the four distinct sections of the footbridge (56’, 97’, 15’3” and 51’6”) and are to scale. Viewed from left to right the work shows the bridge sections when walking from the station, across the tracks to the skateboard park. The width of the cut out section in the base plate of this work matches that of the base plate in the first piece I See a Bridge of Zeal. While the two works are designed to stand alone, the idea of fitting them together is symbolic of the act of replacing the main portion, reinstating the bridge to its original working condition.

Bridge Across, the final sculpture in the series, shows the rail line points-intersection represented as a cross. The rails are sitting on 8mm steel plates, sledge-hammered to shape to represent the rail ballast. The arch forming the bridge uses one of the end sections of the original bridge gusset plates. The remainder of the gusset plate was incorporated into the new bridge. As with the other sculptures, the wording was cut by hand from 6mm plate and stick welded in place. This piece is a tribute to the memories of those who have crossed the bridge for their last time ever, and is reflective of both tragedy and triumph.