The Ear


Russell Clark



  • Sculpture


  • Steel
  • Concrete


  • Approx. H1600 x W1200mm

Russell Clark, ‘The Ear’ (1957), Timaru Telephone Exchange (former), Te Tihi-o-Maru Timaru

Image: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aoteraroa New Zealand, 2021


An abstract form that includes voids spanned by fine rods, designed to suggest the idea of communications by means of telegraphic wire. The piece was intended to appear on a flat wall and provide an ornamental relief with the play of shadows as the light falling upon it changes direction. The piece is considered typical of Clark's work.

In its original installation the 'The Ear' was white but the model for the sculpture showed Clark planned for it to have a white body with areas of pale blue and rods in red, yellow and blue. At some point, the sculpture was painted an unusual mushroomy colour. The Art Registry Company, from Christchurch, restored the work April 2010 to its original red, yellow and blue colours. "Local telecommunications network operator Chorus commissioned the repair in order to keep the artwork alive in the Timaru culture."[1]