View of Chiara Corbelletto's Twins on the forecourt at Grafton

‘Twins’ successfully installed in new sculpture court

Chiara Corbelletto’s Twins (2003) have now found a new home at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences (FMHS). The sculpture joins two others on the forecourt at Grafton – Terry Stringer’s Hygeia (2018) and Marianne Fountain’s bronze Sundial (1983).

Twins was moved to make way for the construction of the new Recreation Centre on the City Campus. Weighing in at 600kg each, relocating the composite cast forms involved careful planning and collaboration between the artist, the Art Collection team, and Property Services.

We were presented with the significant logistical challenge of finding a new location that would be suitably proportioned and able to withstand the 1,200kg combined weight of the forms. The Grafton forecourt, with its grassy knolls and stable ground, provided the space that was needed to do just that.

One of Chiara Corbelletto's Twins being loaded by crane onto a caterpillar for transport to Grafton campus

New location offers new perspectives

Now, Twins can breathe – the scale of the space is better suited to their size and as a result, they seem to have expanded to fill it. With numerous buildings overlooking the forecourt, including the hospital across the road, there are more opportunities to view the work from height as the artist intended. What’s more, FMHS is the ideal context for the work.

Viewed from above, the work can be understood as a pair of identical, but subtly differing forms – one cream, the other a faint grey. “They convey ideas about duality and coexistence, bonding and belonging in a complemented and balanced way,” says Corbelletto.

View of Chiara Corbelletto's Twins on the forecourt at Grafton from above

Organic yet mathematically precise, the form is tessellated to create a pair of figures that nestle together, echoed in Corbelleto’s work, Numbers are the Language of Nature, (2005), which resides just across the road in Auckland Domain.

The University occupies a liminal space in between public and private and the sculpture court at Grafton acts as a common space, extending the University’s presence outwards while inviting the public in.

“Many pieces in our incredible Art Collection are not as accessible so it’s great to have achieved a result which means the work is better seen and can be enjoyed by more people, both within the University and wider community,” explains Art Collection Adviser Lara Thomas.

“Relocations of public sculpture are not always undertaken or successful because of the complexities of logistics involved, the substantial cost and the challenge of finding another appropriate location, but this is an outcome we’re really pleased with.”

Discover more about the University of Auckland Art Collection

Lara Thomas, Art Collection Adviser, Cultural Collections


  • Chiara Corbelletto commented on 01/07/2021

    Thank you so much Lara, very good process …. from Symonds Street dis-installation to Park Road installation and to your writing now. Very positive outcome, grazie, Chiara Corbelletto

    • Lara Thomas commented on 05/07/2021

      Thanks Chiara! It has been a pleasure working with you.

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