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Diversity, quality of temporary artworks popular

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Diversity and quality of temporary artworks proving popular

Two weeks and three displays into the year-long nationwide series of temporary artworks called One Day Sculpture, project director Associate Professor David Cross is already delighted with the diversity and quality of what has been on show.

Dr Cross, an associate professor in fine arts at the College of Creative Arts in Wellington, says the first three works have been thought-provoking and popular. "Each has a different focus, but that is the nature of the One Day Sculpture series,” he says. “Some we’ve had and others that are coming up have been – and will be – spectacular; some subtle. It is about difference and diversity.”

One Day Sculpture is coordinated by Litmus, the School of Fine Arts’ research centre. The event involves 21 artworks across five New Zealand centres. Six of the 21 were commissioned by Litmus. A book about the series is also planned.

Dr Cross says the work by Aucklanders Kate Newby and Nick Austin on 30 August, Hold Still, was funny but also had depth. “It was quite a subtle and humorous work. You can see these fake birds, which are pretty humorous, but they speak of colonialism and post-colonialism through their presence in a very English park in a very New Zealand environment.”

A Wellington work by Kah Bee Chow on 31 August was more overt in its social and political statements, Dr Cross says. Golden Slumbers was set in Haining St, central Wellington, an industrial area that was once the centre of Chinatown and the location of a racially-motivated murder in 1905, when Lionel Terry shot Joe Kum Yung as a protest against Chinese immigration.

The work is partly an imagined narrative of the victim’s afterlife, acting as an antidote to his invisibility after his killer gained notoriety from the murder, while he was largely forgotten.

Dr Cross says the work was hugely popular with a wide variety of people coming to view it.

Golden Slumbers and Hold Still followed an adventurous work by Massey University fine arts senior lecturer Maddie Leach that launched One Day Sculpture.

Miss Leach created Perigee #11; the first of 21 works in the series. It involved three key parts: a renovated cedar-lined boatshed in Wellington’s Breaker Bay (shown right), the specified 24-hour time period, and weather forecasts made a year ago by forecaster Ken Ring for a huge storm on 28 August. The forecasts were published in newspapers as part of the work.

Miss Leach says the fact the weather on the day was fine rather than stormy added to the exhibit. “My work often has a sense of expectation of what people bring to the work," she says. "If the storm had turned up, it would have been a very different work.”

Dr Cross says One Day Sculpture is about “showing art is beyond big metal objects being dropped in a plaza somewhere. We are trying to build audiences but get people engaging too.”

It continues until June next year, with the next commissions including works by Amy Howden-Chapman (commissioned by City Gallery) in Wellington early next month and this year's Govett-Brewster New Zealand Artist in Residence Liz Allan, whose work Came a Hot Sundae: A Ronald Hugh Morrieson Festival on 26 October in Hawera.

For up to date information on the project:


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