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Richard Killeen, The Gathering, 2008

20 October 2008

Richard Killeen, The Gathering, 2008. Courtesy of the artist

The Gathering

The next time you stand by the corner of Worcester Boulevard and Montreal Street and look upwards, you will see Christchurch Art Gallery’s newest exhibition space. “Springboard” is a new illuminated billboard attached to the Gallery’s façade, and renowned New Zealand artist Richard Killeen is the first artist to feature on it

Measuring almost 5 x 7 metres, The Gathering is one of the largest single images produced by Killeen, who is well known for his “cutouts” - works made of many smaller pieces that can be arranged in any order. More recently though, Killeen has been creating computer-generated landscapes and cityscapes populated by densely patterned figures. In The Gathering, a crowd of these figures seem to look out at the passing world from within the Gallery. “Killeen has always been fascinated by collections, cabinets of curiosity and cultural storehouses, and in this work it’s as if objects and patterns from the Gallery’s storerooms have suddenly found a window onto the world,” according to Senior Curator Justin Paton

Killeen’s interest in collections and the ways they “come alive” will also be apparent at the Gallery from late November onwards when his remarkable artwork The Book of the Hook goes on show as part of the exhibition Wunderbox. Consisting of 253 separate parts, the work is a collection of images from a fictitious institution called ‘The Hook Museum’.

“Richard Killeen’s The Book of the Hook is without question one of the major works from our contemporary collection,” says Gallery Director Jenny Harper. “We’re thrilled it will be on show at the same time as Richard’s new billboard, which is lighting up a part of the Gallery that has been in the shadows until quite recently.

Along with the SCAPE Biennial, the Springboard project contributes to an increasingly lively and promising public art environment in Christchurch. With the new Council buildings appearing nearby, we expect this part of Worcester Boulevard to become increasingly vibrant, and The Gathering is a great step in that direction.”

New works by other artists will follow in the Springboard series in the future. The series is part of Outer Spaces, a programme of artworks in spaces beyond the traditional exhibition galleries which includes the Twinset video programme, Sara Hughes’s installation in the Gallery foyer and the Subsonic sound art series in the car park bunker. The next contributor to Outer Spaces will be Christchurch artist James Oram, who is creating a work for the foyer.


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