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Major NZ international contemporary art series


Litmus Research Initiative

9 January 2008

Major New Zealand-based international contemporary art series to be launched in March 2008.

1 year. 20 new artworks. 24 hours.

A New Zealand-wide series of temporary place-based artworks
June 2008 - June 2009

- Press Launch: Friday 7 March 2008, Wellington, New Zealand

- Roman Ondak, Good Feelings in Good Times: Friday 7 March 2008, throughout Wellington city

- Panel discussion: Saturday 8 March 2008, Pacific Blue Festival Club, Frank Kitts Park, Wellington, 10.30am-12.30pm

One Day Sculpture, a New Zealand-wide contemporary art commissioning series, will be launched in Wellington in March 2008 in conjunction with the New Zealand International Arts Festival.

Initiated by UK-based curator and Director of Situations (, Claire Doherty and Massey University’s Litmus Research Initiative, and realised in partnership with art institutions throughout New Zealand, One Day Sculpture is a cumulative series of place-responsive public artworks by national and international artists that will begin in June 2008.

The series will involve the creation of 20 new artworks across five New Zealand cities over one year. Each artwork will be sited in the public domain and will exist for no more than a 24-hour period (with each artwork being realised on a different day). The works will reflect a diversity of artistic approaches from sculpture and installation in situ for 24 hours, to performance and itinerant interventions across the city at moments throughout one day.

Claire Doherty, Litmus International Curatorial Fellow describes One Day Sculpture as, “the first international art project of its kind. Taking time, space and place as its inspiration, the project turns the concept of a scattered-site exhibition of new artworks on its head, offering the opportunity to engage with each newly commissioned artwork for one day only, one after another, as a cumulative series over one year.” She goes on to say, “ Requiring the extraordinary commitment and enthusiasm of arts organisations across New Zealand, the twenty new works will accumulate over 12 months across the country forming a dynamic and long-lasting reconsideration of what sculpture can be, challenging conventional assumptions about permanence, monumentality and the public realm.”

Dr David Cross, Litmus Director commented, “One Day Sculpture provides an unprecedented opportunity for New Zealand audiences to engage with temporary public artworks by leading contemporary artists; and for New Zealand artists, curators and writers to examine – in dialogue with international peers – notions of public sculpture and place-sensitive art practice. Confirmed artists already include some of the pre-eminent international artists working today including Roman Ondak (Slovakia), Thomas Hirschhorn (Switzerland/France) and Javier Tellez (Venezuela/New York) alongside prominent New Zealand-based artists including Billy Apple and Maddie Leach.”

Litmus will commission five One Day Sculpture artworks in Wellington. Further works in the nationwide series will be commissioned for Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin by leading public galleries and artist-run spaces. One Day Sculpture is the first series of its kind to be staged across New Zealand, and its specific durational nature also marks it out from any other international art project.

One Day Sculpture will be launched in Wellington on Friday 7 March 2008 with a series of events:

A full list of commissioned artists, curators, commissioning partners and sponsors will be announced at the One Day Sculpture press launch on Friday 7 March. Curator, Claire Doherty will be present, along with Slovakian artist Roman Ondak and several of the New Zealand artists and curators participating in the series.

To give audiences a taste of what is to come, the One Day Sculpture launch will be accompanied by the public presentation of Roman Ondak's celebrated work Good Feelings in Good Times, loaned from the Tate Collection, London. Ondak is well known internationally for his staging of familiar scenarios in which unexpected actions occur. Taking the form of installations, performances and interventions, his works often affect a double-take, provoking viewers to question their understanding and perception of everyday life. Good Feelings in Good Times is a static queue of people – with seemingly no point of resolution or purpose – that can be read as a sculpture, performance or intervention. The work will take place across a number of unspecified Wellington locations on Friday 7 March as part of the New Zealand International Arts Festival Visual Arts programme.

Ondak will also be in Wellington undertaking research for his One Day Sculpture commission to be realised in March 2009. To ensure that each One Day Sculpture artwork is genuinely engaged with and responsive to the context in which it is commissioned, each artist will undertake a research visit to the host city prior to the production of the new work. A full schedule of these research visits will be available at the One Day Sculpture press launch.

Doherty will also participate in a public panel discussion to be staged in the Pacfic Blue Festival Club, Frank Kitts Park on Saturday 8 March 2008, 10.30am-12.30pm. The panel will contextualise One Day Sculpture within a broader discussion of temporary public art.

An international forum considering One Day Sculpture will occur at Camden Arts Centre, London, on 16 January 2008. As one of London’s leading centres for contemporary art, Camden’s invitation to host a critical discussion relating to One Day Sculpture indicates the international significance of the project.

The microsite will go live in March 2008. Audience and participants will be able to keep abreast of the latest artwork developments, critical writing, public events and other information from the site.

The first newly commissioned artworks will take place in June 2008 and the series will culminate in June 2009.

One Day Sculpture will be accompanied by an international symposium in Wellington (to be held in March 2009) and a retrospective book publication to be released in late 2009.


Supported by Wellington City Council Public Art Fund, The British Academy, Goethe Institut, Massey University School of Fine Arts, Massey University College of Creative Arts, Massey University Foundation.

A Massey University School of Fine Arts Research Project in partnership with International Curatorial Fellow Claire Doherty.


A New Zealand-wide series of temporary place-based artworks
June 2008 - June 2009


The One Day Sculpture concept grew out of Claire Doherty’s 2006 International Curatorial Research Fellowship with Massey University’s Litmus Research Initiative. Doherty discusses the background to the concept:

“It was the experience of commissioning a new public artwork in Bristol by artists Ivan and Heather Morison in 2006 that led me to think about the implications of a series of one-day works in New Zealand. The Morisons work, a simulation of an articulated lorry-crash which deposited its load of 25,000 flowers across the city centre, provoked extraordinary conversations amongst the public about whether this work was a contemporary monument, sculpture or protest. The work itself was adapted and disseminated as the flowers became dispersed across the city, taken home on buses, bicycles and prams at sun-down, entering Bristols social imagination and becoming urban myth. At first experienced as a sculptural object or installation, the work took on the characteristics of social sculpture, transformed through exchange and dissemination across the city.

Considering the genealogy of site-specific, environmental and Situationist art practice internationally, and specifically, the history of public sculpture in New Zealand, I was interested during my Research Fellowship to discuss with New Zealand-based artists and curators the possibilities for a nation-wide commissioning project in New Zealand. It emerged that with the exception of the SCAPE Biennial of Art in Public Space, the opportunities for New Zealand arts practitioners to produce temporary works in the public domain, or to engage in internationally inflected critical dialogues relating to this field of contemporary practice, were limited. The proposal met with immediate interest and support. Importantly, however, I wanted to challenge conventional curatorial formats which customarily contextualise temporary works within the framework of a six-week exhibition, by offering the opportunity for artists and curators to work on projects which would occur autonomously, but within an overarching framework over a longer period of time.

The resulting concept reflects the generosity and enthusiasm of the network of New Zealand curators and visual arts organisations with whom I have had contact. Responding to the specifics of location within their own 24-hour period, each of the One Day projects has the capacity to engage very different communities and to operate through a diversity of media and sites. Conceived as the first project of its kind to be staged in New Zealand, what also marks One Day Sculpture apart from any other international commissioning project is the combination of this 24-hour parameter with the one-year duration of the series. By June 2009, 20 very different artistic responses to the one-day sculpture parameter will have emerged, forming a unique portrait of contemporary artistic sculptural practice and establishing a unique and internationally significant legacy.”

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