GALLERY New New Zealand Art
Curated by Ben Curnow Artists Daniel Malone, Nicholas Spratt, Kah-Bee Chow, Lauren Winstone, Bjorn Houtman, Dane Mitchell, Simon Ingram, Gretchen Geraets, Jeena Shin, Fleur Sandbrook
This exhibition brings together ten outstanding new artists from New Zealand whose works show the diverse and energetic character of contemporary art in Australia's neighbour to the south. According to independent curator Ben Curnow, "There is an inate languidness and dryness of wit, combined with a highly developed alertness to the world, that's distinctive to New Zealand culture, and this makes for exciting and original art practice".
The ten artists represented in the MOP exhibition are Kah-Bee Chow (b.1980), Gretchen Geraets (b.1979), Bjorn Houtman (b.1979), Simon Ingram (b.1971), Daniel Malone (b.1970), Dane Mitchell (b.1973), Fleur Sandbrook (b.1969), Jeena Shin (b.1973), Nicholas Spratt (b.1975), and Lauren Winstone (b.1976). Most have not exhibited outside New Zealand before - although Ingram and Shin have both previously shown in Sydney, Mitchell's work has recently been seen in Los Angeles and Malone is included in the concurrent Biennale of Sydney exhibition. While the names Sandbrook, Spratt and Winstone might ring bells in Auckland's underground scene, Chow, Geraets and Houtman are new to local and international audiences alike.
"Ideas of art and culture keep changing, as do notions of the meaning of a location" says Curnow. "There is a new New Zealand and there is a new New Zealand art, it is totally different from the place I left 15 years ago and returned to in 2003...The art has a familiar sense of poetry about it, but it is not a New Zealand Art in the canonical sense I grew up with. These are very much global artists whose geographical context happens to be relatively remote, but hardly isolated in cultural terms".
Among the notable works to be seen for the first time in the exhibition are Dane Mitchell's Direct Line: Auckland to Sydney which consists of two tin cans and a very long piece of string, representing the distance between the two locations, and Daniel Malone's New New Zealand Flag in which the design of official national flag is revised and transformed as a symbolic update of the country's self-image.
New New Zealand art is accompanied by a 140-page catalogue/anthology that includes page works by 60 artists and an illustrated essay by the curator, published through Canary Gallery (Auckland's newest artist-run project space). Containing original works and showing a broad range of current art practice in New Zealand, the publication can be considered as an extended form of the exhibition in its own right with a longer shelf-life! and it's sure to become an instant collector's item. The exhibition opens on 9 June and runs until 19 June.
Already well known to Australian audiences through his regular exhibitions here since 1992, Julian Dashper presents three new works at MOP Projects gallery including a 14-inch record (produced as a unique object, not in an edition), a new CD multiple (edition of 20), and a painting produced in an edition of two.
Dashper has long held a fascination with such media as records (he co-founded the Sydney/Auckland based record company Circle Records in 1996). In his work he plays on the now relatively "primitive" technology of records to critically draw attention to the conceptual/material status of painting today. The flat, subtly structured surface of the record (or CD) presented on the wall may be analogous to that of a painting, yet as a familiar object it tends to imply the existence of multiple copies, in contrast to the assumption of uniqueness normally associated with painting as a medium.
A respected mid-career artist in New Zealand, Dashper exhibits internationally and is widely renowned for work that both critiques and celebrates the ongoing relevance of reductive painting practice. Dashper's new CD multiple, which will be released on the opening night, has the further distinction of being alternately playable on a turntable or in a CD player. Where else on the planet could you find such an imaginative meeting of old and new technology but in the Land of the Long White Cloud, the home of the Warriors.