Assay / Essay: Artist-run in Aotearoa New Zealand

"The idea was simple: a publication looking at artist-run spaces in Aotearoa New Zealand.  And even in that first statement, just in the words I used, the complexity of the territory began to reveal itself." 

Please (belatedly) welcome into glorious spiral-bound-paper-and-ink form Assay / Essay: Artist-run in Aotearoa New Zealand

With contributions from founders, trustees, curators and observers of artist-runs, Assay / Essay teases out some of the rich area that comprises New Zealand’s past and present artist-run activity, showcasing how invaluable artist-runs are to art in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Please enjoy a snippet from each of the essays below and then go buy yourself a copy from the Enjoy website by ... following this link!  It will be a graceful addition to your bookcase for decades to come.


Keir Leslie Artificial Paradises: Christchurch 2012-2016

These problems are not purely academic or personal. If an independent arts sector is to exist in Christchurch, not as a branch of social welfare work or industrial policy or urban regeneration, but as an autonomous community of practice, then it is essential that funding decisions are made based on professional artistic standards, not on feel-good vibes.


Emma Bugden Hybrid Practices: Artist-Run Spaces and Money

Perhaps shapeshifting is the point. Artists can, and do, adopt and shrug off personas with ease. Galleries, it seems, can too. And, in a neo-liberal climate that demands increasing transparency of operation, it’s the very slipperiness of these models, their refusal to be one thing or the other, that challenges us.


K. Emma Ng

Artist-run spaces are often Frankenstein in nature: mutated organisations held together by the spit, love, tears and oily rags of many, who come together in shifting configurations. As a collective endeavour, the memory of an art space can be hard to retain. Institutional knowledge ebbs and flows, and an art space’s physical archive might range from a collection of miscellaneous posters kept rolled in the cupboard, to the immaculately labelled file boxes of RM. More often than not, the history of an artist-run space is held in fragments—small books, ephemera and, now, dispersed through online event listings.


Lauren Gutsell On Board

I have often found myself in thought-provoking discussions surrounding the Blue Oyster and the community’s perception of its role and function, including: what does it really mean to be experimental? Do you have to be emerging to be experimental? Are experimental and emerging the same thing? What defines a not-for-profit space? What is the difference between a project space and an artist-run space? And what does the Board of Trustees actually do? When invited to write this text, with the aim of demystifying the role of a Board of Trustees, it seemed like a fitting opportunity to put words together in response to some of these questions.


The full list of contributors is: Grace Ryder, K. Emma Ng, Daphne Simons, Lauren Gutsell, Dog Park Art Project Space (Chloe Geoghegan and Ella Sutherland), North Projects (Grace Ryder, Sophie Davis and Sophie Bannan), Keir Leslie, Robbie Fraser, Emma Bugden and Karl Bayly, with page works by Yolunda Hickman.

Assay / Essay was designed by the clever, talented and extremely patient Ashley Keen.

Chartwell Trust and Enjoy Public Art Gallery supported me to edit, produce and publish this book.  My appreciation for the financial, editorial and personal support I received from both knows no bounds.

Mason's Sceen | Slow and mournfully; slow and sad; slow and solemnly

If you find yourself perambulating around Wellington's inner city this month, my video Slow and mournfully; slow and sad; slow and solemnly is showing on Mason's Screen from August 11th to September 8th.  Supported by the Wellington City Council and programmed by CIRCUIT Artist Film and Video Aotearoa New Zealand, this 24 hour video screen is located on Mason's Lane, just off Lambton Quay.  

My work, Slow and mournfully; slow and sad; slow and solemnly, takes a single performance of a piece of music and split into two parts.  The pianist plays through Eric Satie’s Gymnopedies (no. 1 - 3) three times consecutively, first using only one hand, and then the other. The resulting recordings were afterwards combined.  Although the pianist initially keeps her timing, eventually the impossibility of splitting her performance takes its toll; the music becomes mistimed, occasionally to the point of discordant plinking.  

break me/harder

It is a privilege to be a part of curator Noelia Porter's current exhibition at rm.  break me/harder is an exhibition within an exhibition, with the main show, Yours to Tell curated by Catherine Hunt.

As Noelia states, "The exhibition surveys a landscape of of femininity, break-up, love, resilience and hope. Bringing together an international and multigenerational group of artists and writers, the exhibition aspires to connect and give closure to the narratives and traces of broken relationships taken apart, investigated and explored by each of them".*

Noelia's break me/harder also features Rosario Aninat, Audrey Baldwin, Jordana Bragg, Ruby Joy Eade and Sofia Rocha Casenave, and runs from 4 August to 20 August.  This exquisite image in the below invite is a still from Audrey Baldwin's video work.  Seriously now, look how stunning that still is!

Here are some links is you want further information about this exhibition:

rm's website with further details about Catherine Hunt's exhibition Yours to Tell

Further details about break me/harder from Noelia on the Cargo Collective website
*Noelia's above quote sourced from this website

Nominally North | Actually North

In the past few weeks 'north' has been on my mind, as two shows of differently northerly qualities have opened.  The month of June saw one of my residency works fly back north to Canada, and me fly south to North Projects.

Collapsed Geographies, a work made as part of my residency at the Banff Centre (click here for details) is part of the exhibition Landscapes Reconstructed at The Whyte Museum (Banff, Alberta) as part of their suite of summer exhibitions.  This exhibition runs from June 19th to October 16th.  Further details of the show can be found ... here!

And Oscar: With a sinister hoist, the semaphore flag is my solo show at North Projects, running June 24th to July 16th.   Each work in the show samples from, copies, or erases existing film footage or audio and literary material from well-known sources, exploring the physical and intangible space language occupies in different forms. 

The show also includes a beautiful exhibition essay, knowing when to stop, from the inestimable Alice Tappenden.

More details about the show (and this most excellent gallery) can be found by clicking HERE!

Suburban Dreams | Talk and Tour

Sunday, May 29th marks the beginning of the final week of Suburban Dreams (sigh). 

In farewell to this show, the Dowse is holding a curator tour, complete with brief artist talks by some of the Wellington-based artists; I am very excited to be able to talk about The Floor We Walk On once again as part of the tour.

It's been such a joy and privilege to be part of Sian van Dyk's beautiful exhibition.  Come along for some interesting talk and light refreshments!

Sunday, 29 May 2:00 p.m.  More details can be found by clicking ... HERE!