These photos look as if a cartoonist had scribbled a paper doodle onto the hill, but this is actually an enormous 3D sculpture made to create a 2D illusion. Designed by artist Neil Dawson, the sculpture titled “Horizons” sits atop a hill in Gibbs Farm, a New Zealand sculpture collection, and the piece of welded steel only appears to be 2D when seen from the bottom of the hill (up close, its 3D properties are apparent.)

The really fantastic part about this sculpture lies in its empty space between the stark steel outlines– the sky behind the piece becomes a fluid, ever-changing backdrop, while the landscape of the hill frames the sculpture with seasonal flora and fauna. The concept behind Gibbs Farm is also fascinating (it’s free for visitors, but you must make an appointment):

Gibbs Farm is an unusual setting for a sculpture collection. The flow of the land, the immense body of water, the wide harbour flats and the assertive variety of the elements have all imposed themselves on the artists.

Gibbs acknowledges that “the challenge for the artists is the scale of the landscape; it scares them initially” and demands something more from them. Walking the land visitors can appreciate how each artist has come to terms in their own way with the gravitational pull that is exerted on everything as the mountains roll into hills and slide into gullies and slope down towards the wide flat expanse of the Kaipara harbour.

I think Dawson’s interpretation of how to manipulate the natural landscape of Gibbs Farm is perfect– the sculpture is stunning in its simplicity and graceful curves, and it retains an air of mystery as the sky changes shades behind it. I can imagine people finding new beauty in its form as they revisit it over and over again throughout the seasons. [Via NPR, thank you to reader Anne Lane!]

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