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Two New Exhibitions At The Physics Room


Two New Exhibitions At The Physics Room

Welcome to the Jungle
Richard Orjis
2–26 April 2008

Opening preview: Tuesday 1 April 2008, 5.30pm

Seeking out what Richard Orjis refers to as The CULT of CHCH, Welcome to the Jungle isn't afraid to get amongst it and promises to be a dark yet verdant invocation of this place, and the currents that many concede run through it. Orjis will be documenting The CULT of CHCH in a series of portrait sessions at The Physics Room during 29 and 30 March in the lead up to the opening of his project for the gallery.

Well known for his hot-housed floral montages in tribute to the likes of Floros the flower idol and his series of hand painted mud portraits of 2005–07, in Christchurch Orjis is inviting locals to the gallery to cover themselves in a soft, sooty carapace of coal dust for the shoot. The images taken of those brave initiates will then form part of Orjis' exhibition at The Physics Room.

If you'd like to know more or take part please contact the gallery at either 03 379 5583 or

Appropriating the title of Guns N' Roses' hit single from their 1987 album Appetite for Destruction for this project, it's not the first time Orjis has been attracted to what he has described as a "gothic sensibility" that seeks to "access the sublime through dark beauty, melancholy, lust, death, fear" and the fecund collectivity of cults.

In reference to his earlier documentation and investigations into the Empire of Dirt Orjis states that "Nature can be seen as beautiful and pure, and intrinsically good, but also as dangerous and destructive, a spectacle of the devourers and the devoured." A rich and unnerving aesthetic shadows Orjis' more anthropological investigations of the fictive empires and sectarian facades that provide the context for his investigations. Conceived of as a collision between "art history and popular culture…fear and lust; past, present and future" the varied practices represented within Welcome to the Jungle will stake out something of the territory Orjis finds himself most interested in at present.

Richard Orjis was born in 1979 and completed his MFA at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 2006 having previously studied at Auckland University of Technology, 1999–2001. He has exhibited extensively including exhibitions in New York, Basel, Miami, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris and Auckland. Recent exhibitions include My Empire of Dirt at Roger Williams Contemporary, Auckland, 2007; Picnics and Revolutions a group show curated by Orjis, Roger Williams Contemporary, 2007; The Orchid Show, Mount Street, Auckland, 2006 and Me, Me, Me, Room 103, Auckland, 2005. He is currently represented by Starkwhite and McNamara Gallery in New Zealand and Galeria Luis Adelantado in Spain.

For further information on this exhibition please contact The Physics Room on +64 3 379 5583 or email

The Physics Room receives major funding from Creative New Zealand/Toi Aotearoa.

King Tides Rising
Pauline Rhodes
2–26 April 2008

Opening preview: Tuesday 1 April 2008, 5.30pm

With patient, transient processes, over the course of the last 30 years Pauline Rhodes has been gathering, working with, and then redistributing materials within the New Zealand landscape. Interested in the physicality and sensations that comprise any experience of place, Rhodes’ investigations explore the hypnotic formal attributes of simple scenarios alongside the cyclic, enduring processes that keep local environments alive and in motion.

Through a process of transference, Rhodes re-orientates our shared expectations of cultured, purposefully manufactured materials and objects within the raw context of the natural landscape. In her own words she describes her working method as one in which “ambiguities, disjunctures and fractures are inbuilt” and her practices can easily be read as testaments to the mercurial nature of sites, histories and the imperfect permanence of materials.

Rhodes’ dedication to ephemeral processes and context-specific experiences both informed and affirmed the post-object traditions and performative interventions that emerged in art during the 1970s here in New Zealand. As Christina Barton explains in Ground/Work: The Art of Pauline Rhodes, “both indoors and in the environment her works function not as discrete objects but as punctuation marks in a semantic field of matter, material and meaning.”

In as much, King Tides Rising, which presents the skeletal structure of a white framed vessel lying static within the gallery while documentation of its earlier, thwarted voyage is projected within the space, also steps outside of Rhodes’ familiar way of presenting her efforts as either an ‘extensum’ that stretches materials out within the natural environment, or an ‘intensum’ that formally congregates materials within a gallery context but doesn’t necessarily highlight the traces of experience and process that brought them there.

For The Physics Room, Rhodes allows her longstanding operational tactics to purposefully collide and leave their testimonial debris like a high tide mark within which others are invited to read the chaos and resilience of the personal and elemental processes that have shaped this work.

Born in Christchurch, Pauline Rhodes lived in Wellington, Westport and also abroad in Nigeria and England before returning to Christchurch in 1970. She obtained her Diploma of Fine Art in Sculpture at the University of Canterbury in 1974. Rhodes began her outdoor projects in the mid–1970s and was the first recipient of the Olivia Spencer Bower Award in 1987. She has exhibited her work in conjunction with a wide range of New Zealand galleries. Recent projects include: Intensum/Extensum 1981, ARTSPACE, Auckland, 1998; Site specific installation as part of The Oblique Trust’s Otira Project, 1999; Ziggurat 2000, Art & Industry Biennial, Christchurch, 2000; Toxic Gains, The Physics Room, Christchurch, 2000; Drink, The Physics Room’s Kiosk, Christchurch, 2002; Groundplates, Gridlocked, Christchurch, 2004, Gathering Intensities, Blue Oyster Gallery, Dunedin, 2006.


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