Freo's View


Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 14, 2018

art 1


Tenders for the removal of the Felice Varini yellow Arcs D’Ellipse artwork in High Street and repair to the heritage buildings closed last Friday, so we should soon be told by the City of Fremantle what will be involved, how much it will cost, and if some or all of the costs will be recovered from the artist.

There is a bit of angst and worry among some of the property owners, with one already talking to lawyers and another one has started a petition for a special electors meeting.

The best way forward for the City  is calling a stakeholders meeting where all the affected High Street building owners get first hand information from the responsible officers, as the present communication is not deemed sufficient.

There is little use in some receiving emails and others not, and that from different CoF officers. That only adds to the confusion and angst, so invite all the property owners to a meeting with CoF officers and experts, so they can be told exactly what is going on and what is planned.

We already hear suggestions of expensive traffic management, loss of parking bays and even road closure, as matching the paint can’t be done at night, so that will have to be done during the day.

From my own observations of seeing cleaning and painting companies trying to remove the foil it looks like it will be a long and slow and careful process that might not even be completed before the end of the year.

I hear six companies looked at the problems and they all tendered, so I hope they added a clause in their tender that fully painting of some facades is not included in the cost, as that will be very expensive.

On a related note I’d like to welcome Destry Puia who has taken over from the very well liked Pete Stone as the Manager Arts and Culture. He has been thrown in the deep end as the artwork removal is now one of his responsibilities to manage.

I hear Destry is a proud Maori man who relocated with his young family from Melbourne, so welcome to Freo, Destry. I am looking forward to meeting you. If I can assist you with anything in settling down here, just send me an email!

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, heritage, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 7, 2018



The trial attempts to safely remove the yellow foil from heritage buildings in Fremantle’s High Street by all different kind of cleaning and painting companies continued this week, but have not been enormously successful, as these photos show.

On Monday another wall cleaning company tried out hot steam, and that worked partially on certain surfaces, but not on others.

It is interesting to note in this context that High Tide Biennale curator Tom Mueller of PS Art Space has gone into hiding and does not want to know about the problems.

The biennale Mueller created was fantastic and he deserves a lot of credit for it, as he does for making PSAS into a great arts and events space, but mature people take ownership of their successes and failures, so not responding to an email I sent him last Wednesday and crossing the street on Monday afternoon so that he would not have to engage with me and two High Street property owners affected by the Varini artwork removal debacle is unprofessional and silly.

Tom Mueller was very keen to seek my support before the High Tide Biennale, and he was happy to front the media for the Arcs D’Ellipse launch with Minister David Templeman, Freo Mayor Brad Pettitt and fellow Swiss artist Felice Varini, but now he’s gone all silent.

The urban myth might be true after all that God invented the bum crack so that Swiss people would not fall off the fence they historically tend to sit on, Tom Mueller. ; >)

Also missing in action is the Fremantle Herald. While all the main media have reported on the problems of removing the artwork and the damage to the historic buildings, our own local community paper has not published a word about it. Worried about losing advertising revenue from the City of Fremantle, and not caring one bit about what it will cost ratepayers to repair the artwork damage, very tired old Chook?

One thing is for sure, that the removal is going to be problematic and very costly. Traffic management will be required, as might heritage expert advise, cherry pickers will be needed and maybe even road closure of High Street.

What is certain is that building owners will not accept just a patch up job, but will insist on perfection and reinstating what was there before the yellow foil was put up.

Whoever the ‘lucky’ tender winner will be, I wish them good luck. I don’t envy them for the job ahead.

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on August 6, 2018



Tenders for the removal and make good of the Felice Varini yellow artwork in Fremantle’s historic High Street finished last Friday, so we should find out this week what the solution is to remove the foil without damaging the paint and render, and what it will cost the ratepayers.

The City of Fremantle informed me on Friday that the artist was only required to have public liability insurance for the installation of the great artwork, but not for its removal, which seems a bad oversight to me.

While I love the outstanding public artwork Varini created in Fremantle, I believe he should take ownership also of the difficulties in removing it.

The photos above show the effort cleaning and painting companies made last week removing the foil, so they would know what is required before quoting on the big job. One of them said it could be $ 500,000 to do it properly.

Roel Loopers






Posted in art, city of fremantle, festivals, fremantle festival, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 1, 2018


art removal


More cleaning and painting contractors were  in Fremantle’s High Street yesterday and today to look at solutions to safely remove the Arcs D’Ellipse yellow foil artwork from the historic buildings.

The photo shows a team of Van Diddens who did quite well removing parts with a heat gun, but it would be a long and tedious job they told me, as there would need to be hot steam cleaning of the facades as well.

Another contractor told a High Street property owner that the job would cost at least $ 500,000 and that did not include if some of the buildings had to be totally painted if the colours could not be matched.

I emailed some questions regarding liability to the City of Fremantle CEO and also to the director/curator of the High Tide Biennale this morning, but have not received any replies from them yet.

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, heritage, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 30, 2018



What a shame, what an utter shame, that the stunning Felice Varini Arcs D’Ellipse artwork in Fremantle historic West End, that was admired by tens of thousands of visitors over the last nine months, has now become a very serious worry for the City of Fremantle.

Cleaning experts have been looking at the yellow foil on the heritage-listed buildings for the last ten days, and their opinion should be a big concern for the City and its ratepayers.

One cleaning company expert told me this morning that his company would probably not even quote on the work because it would create a huge headache for them. He did not believe a heat gun or steam would get the foil off without doing damage to the paint and even some of the render. He also said it would be near impossible to match the fading colours of the paint on many of the buildings, so that some of the buildings might require to be painted totally.

One owner in High Street received a quote for painting his building at $ 45,000, that is three times more than the City of Fremantle has budgeted for, and it’s only for one single building!

I hope someone will come up with a cheap miracle cure for this predicament as it makes me sad to think that the great art installation would only be remembered for the difficulty in removing it.

This was the most recent project on a castle in France by the artist. Looks great too:

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, development, dogs, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 26, 2018


A few more snippets from last evening’s Fremantle Ordinary Council meeting.

  • Mayor Brad Pettitt introduced a trial where Councillors and staff do not have to stand when they have been given the floor. Only Councillor Jon Strachan said he did not like it.
  • The sound system is not great so by remaining seated Councillors are closer to the microphone and that is good for the public gallery, but please point the microphone at your mouth and pull them close dear Elected Members! Thank you.
  • Councillor Adin Lang suggested when the City removes trees, such as the Moreton Bay fig trees at Kings Square, that the wood be made available to artists, which was extended to the more general word re-use by Council. Good idea!
  •  The Director of Community Development said Council had budgeted $ 15,000 for eventual repairs during the removal of the yellow foil of the very successful Felice Varini High Street artwork. They might be well short here.
  • The love for dogs is always emotional so the community speakers on the proposed on leash and off leash area at Frederick Samson park were not happy, but the pristine bush there needs to be protected from everyone and community consultation is still going on.
  • Council at length debated a potential scheme amendment for a small area of White Gum Valley, after an irate member of the public had twice accused Councillor Andrew Sullivan of having been arrogant at a committee meeting the week before and ignoring the 25 submissions against the scheme amendment, pointing out the relative low votes Sullivan received at the South Ward re-election. The scheme amendment and probable development is a very long way away and still going through community consultation, but Councillor Rachel Pemberton succinctly pointed out that the community feed back of only 29 responses out of 400 direct mail outs was not exactly a very high percentage either. Councillors Ingrid Waltham and Jenny Archibald said the feedback they had received was that the White Gum Valley community is not against infill, but that they would accept two storey buildings but not three storey ones.


Roel Loopers




Posted in art, city of fremantle, culture, fremantle festival, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 20, 2018


art 1


The removal debacle of the yellow Arcs D’Ellipse artwork in Fremantle’s historic High Street is in the media spotlight today with an article and photos in the West Australian and crews from Channel Nine, TEN and SEVEN interviewing people on the street this morning and interviewing Mayor Brad Pettitt at 10.30am.

The media release by the City of Fremantle states that it was easy to remove the artwork from the Townhall, and that is for a very specific reason. The renovation of the Townhall included anti graffiti coating and that created problems for artist Felice Varini when he attached the yellow foil. It actually partly blew off after a big storm and the artist had to go back up on a cherrypicker and do it again.

The media release also states the City has budgeted for repairs to the buildings, but how do you budget for something when you don’t know the costs? Did CoF budget $ 50,000 or $ 500,000?

As I said to Channel Nine and Ten, the artwork is great and I will always support creative and innovative public art, but it was done back to front with testing now done on how to remove the foil. You don’t hold a concert at the Fremantle Arts Centre and then do a sound check after the event.

Anyway, time will tell if a professional painter or industrial chemist will come up with a solution of removing the yellow foil without major damage to the paintwork.

Roel Loopers

PS, just bumped into a commercial wall cleaner who came from Osborne Park to have a look at possibilities to remove the foil and he told me Fremantle City has a major problem on their hands.





A year ago Fremantle celebrated the inclusion of the historic West End on the WA State Heritage List, but at present it is playing deaf and dumb about the damage done and problems with the removal of the Arcs D’Ellipse yellow artwork along High Street.

There has been no official word from the City of Fremantle, probably because they don’t want to admit liability in case it becomes a legal process with property owners, and probably it is just one of those immature PR exercises where the idea is that if you don’t respond to criticism it will just fade away.

I had another look yesterday at some of the damage already done by removing the yellow foil from heritage listed buildings and it’s not pretty. It is unlikely that building owners will accept a patch up job where the paint does not perfectly match the existing paint, and that might well mean that some of the buildings will have to have a significant paint job at huge costs to the ratepayers.

The process has been back to front, with the City now getting testing done on how to safely remove the foil, when that should have been done well before permission was given to the artist to attach it.

Will the City of Fremantle insurance cover the damage when it was attached by volunteers who are not staff of the City? Will the City of Fremantle admit this was amateur hour incompetence, and what about the silence of the High Tide Biennale directors and curator about this shambles? All those who were keen to take credit and be photographed with the Felice Varini artwork are now nowhere to be seen or heard.

Not commenting won’t make it go away, City of Fremantle!

Roel Loopers

I received this official statement from the City of Fremantle late on Wednesday afternoon:

The Arcs d’Ellipses artwork proved to be hugely popular and helped to raise Fremantle’s profile and attract thousands of visitors to the West End.

The City commenced the removal of the artwork last month by removing it from the Town Hall without any difficulties, but has encountered some problems removing it from some buildings on High Street.

It was always a condition of the agreement with property owners that the City would make good any damage to paintwork as a result of the removal of the artwork. There is provision for this in the City’s budget.

The City will work with building owners to ensure any damage caused by the removal of the artwork is repaired.

The City is looking to engage a paint specialist within the next week to assist in the removal of the artwork and repair of the buildings. Once they’ve been engaged we will have a better understanding of the costs involved.



Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, heritage, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 16, 2018



There is quite an incredible amateur attitude at the City of Fremantle regarding the damage done to heritage buildings by the Felice Varini Arcs D’Ellipse artwork along High Street.

The assurance to building owners that the City will repair the damage is simply not good enough because it will only ever be patch up work. Some of the deeper damage may require re-rendering parts of the buildings, and after that the near impossible task will start to colour match fading paint in all different forms and shapes all over the buildings.

It is not good enough that there was a cavalier attitude toward using these old buildings by the well-paid artist, the High Tide biennale directors and City of Fremantle staff, and it is extremely unprofessional that someone’s word was accepted that it would be easy to remove the foil, instead of doing proper testing before the yellow foil was allowed to be attached to the buildings.

The West End is the soul of Fremantle and its significance should never be under estimated and be taken for granted, but that is what all involved with this art project did!

I love the Varini artwork and so did the tens of thousands of visitors who admired it and promoted it all over the world on social media. It is very important to have great innovative public art and that should never be discouraged, but the basic principle has to be that one knows what one is doing, and not let someone else clean up the mess.

It is not good enough City of Fremantle and the lack of professionalism of some of the people involved should be seriously questioned.

We also still have not heard an official word from our City’s leaders about this, so what about it CEO Phil StJohn and Mayor Brad Pettitt?

Roel Loopers


Posted in art, city of fremantle, fremantle festival, heritage, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 13, 2018


Arcs D'Ellipse


In remarkable proof that reality can be more intriguing than fiction the removal of the yellow Felice Varini artwork along Fremantle’s Hight Street has been stopped. The City has advised property owners that the City of Fremantle is conducting further investigation into the effective removal of the foil from the buildings.

At the time of installing the artwork it was claimed that foil would be used so that the heritage facades would not be damaged, but it appears now that neither the High Tide curator nor City staff actually tested if the foil could be removed without any problems.

It seems a very unprofessional approach to claim easy removal of the foil without knowing if that is the case, and property owners rightly question who will be responsible for eventual repairs and if the High Tide insurance will pay for it.

The glass repair company which repaired the damage done at the installation of the work on the building next to the Orient Hotel still had not been paid for their work last month, eight months after the damage was done.


Roel Loopers

%d bloggers like this: