Post Objective: Jim Allen Video Works
Alice Carstensen and Jim Allen
ONE NIGHT ONLY: Wednesday 1 November 2000, 8pm. Admission Free. Wine and Nibbles.
A joint project with Waikato Polytechnic, supported by New Zealand Film Archive ____________________________________________________________
As legend has it, Jim Allen was a pioneer of post object art in New Zealand in the 1970s, and the most influential art teacher of his generation. However his work remains largely absent from the history books and few of his works are preserved in public collections.
Travelling to Europe, the United States and Mexico in 1968 and 1969, Allen returned with word of the new approaches to sculpture and experience of political unrest in the universities. Abandoning traditional sculpture materials and processes, he immediately created what may be New Zealand's first environmental sculptures.
Using non-precious everyday materials, his new works were not objects but "situations", inviting the implied or actual participation of the viewer. He also produced performances, such as 1974's Contact, a three act performance exemplifying the counter culture moment, addressing themes of repressive social order and liberation.
Under Allen's leadership, Elam's Sculpture department became a scene, a hothouse for ambitious experimental art, fostering artists like Bruce Barber, John Lethbridge, Roger Peters and Maree Horner. Alice Carstensen's film Post Objective, completed as part of her media arts degree at Waikato Polytechnic, contributes to the growing, if belated, recognition of Allen's contribution to the development of New Zealand art.
The film covers Allen's 1970s New Zealand post object work, including remarkable footage of Contact, as well as new work. The programme also includes Allen and Carstensen's Hanging by a Thread, documenting Allen's recent sculpture; and archival video documentation of Contact.
ARTSPACE IN OCTOBER
handiKraft John Bock, Bjorn Dahlem and Rene Zeh ____________________________
Curator Tobias Berger invited the artists John Bock, Björn Dahlem and René Zeh, who all generate their own kinds of universe from do-it-yourself and second hand materials, to create exhibitions in situ for Artspace. As if perfection were deceptive, they do not care for a smooth finish...
John Bock builds shanty environments from found materials creating stage-sets in which he performs idiosyncratic lectures. His "Abstract-Absurd Theatre" incorporates economic theories, personal experiences, common country platitudes... The works reference the Theatre of the Absurd, and the art performance of Joseph Beuys, the Vienna Aktionists and Paul McCarthy. The performances often happen before the show opens, being presented on video inside the set.
Björn Dahlem's installation Club Schrödinger's Katze draws on an Austrian physicist's fabulous idea. Erwin Schrödinger imagined a cat inside a closed box with a flask of poison, which it had a fifty per cent chance of overturning. Being impossible to observe whether the cat was dead or alive, Shrödinger argued it was both. His unfortunate cat has become a popular philosophical metaphor for the suspended and indecisive state of things.
René Zeh's work involves aspects of modern urban life, like virtual travel and mobility. Zeh selects indexes like maps, gallery invitations and timetables from a world wide range of possibilities and arranges them to create a model of personal links. His environment sketch and superimpose parts of the world. The Artspace installation includes a computer animation of a virtual timetable, a "Transporter", and a poster for the film Westworld.
handiKraft has been supported by IFA, the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relationships, Germany.
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