Outer Spaces exhibitions open with glitter and balloons
Christchurch Art Gallery’s latest Outer Spaces exhibitions open with glitter and balloons
It’s been a busy week for Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, with two lively Outer Spaces exhibitions opening – one in a brand new off-site space at 209 Tuam Street (above C1 Espresso).
Reuben Paterson: Te Pūtahitanga ō Rehua is at 212 Madras Street (above NG and the National), while Seung Yul Oh: Huggong is in the Gallery’s newly opened exhibition space in the old Post Office building at 209 Tuam Street, and the two spaces are just a short walk from one another.
Gallery director Jenny Harper is pleased to have had a second exhibition space open in the central city – especially while the Gallery remains closed due to earthquake repairs.
“It gives us great new space to work with in a very interesting part of the regenerating inner city, and you can expect to see some terrific art in there over the next few months.”
In Reuben Paterson: Te Pūtahitanga ō Rehua, a dizzying black and white optical animation is projected onto a six-metre wide screen entirely covered in the artist’s trademark material – opalescent white glitter.
Sixteen kilograms of glitter have been used to create the sparkling backdrop. But possibly the most important material in the exhibition is light – projected light which hits a huge glitter wall in dazzling op-art patterns. Turning, splitting, spiralling and budding across the screen, Te Pūtahitanga ō Rehua offers a journey into infinite depth and endless change.
“This work is complex, and as the years go by and I find new ways to reconfigure, and exhibit it. Each time it seems to grow bigger and get a life of its own,” says Paterson.
“The cut-out animated drawings are multiple layers of differing optical illusions each representing a part of a gradating landscape. Viewed as a whole it is a landscape that has then been rendered into a kaleidoscopic image. The perceptual rhythms of these illusions signify the undulating rhythms, energy and history that has taken part on our land; that I believe the land absorbs.”
For Paterson, all exhibitions become opportunities; the work gets shared with new people and their experiences, which allow the work to open up more to new forms of interpretation.
“The experiences of Christchurch people are like no-one else's in New Zealand at the moment, so the interpretation of the work may be guided by these thoughts and feelings. Bringing deeper experiences to an artwork helps it create its own exhibition life, as well as our own,” says Paterson.
The second exhibition is a presentation of work by rising New Zealand artist Seung Yul Oh, and it features another staple of children’s birthday parties – balloons.
Seung Yul Oh: Huggong is the first exhibition to be featured in the Gallery’s newest exhibition space on 209 Tuam Street, and it explores how big art can also be light. Squeezed against the ceiling, bulging around columns, and forcing viewers back against the walls, Oh’s balloon sculptures are benign and funny space invaders (just don’t try brandishing a pin).
Seung Yul Oh emphasises this vulnerable quality by accompanying the sculptures with a noisy reminder of what happens when you over-inflate a balloon – a violently funny video of gallery staff and others from the art world as balloons burst in their faces.
“Visually, these are very different shows - Seung Yul Oh's consists of huge balloons, while Reuben Paterson's is a digital animation. But they both have a full-on, physical energy,” says Gallery senior curator Justin Paton.
“Oh's balloons are so huge you can hardly get past them. And Paterson's dazzling animation fills a whole wall. This is not art to stand back from and contemplate quietly. It's immersive and impossible to ignore.”
Reuben Paterson: Te Pūtahitanga ō Rehua and Seung Yul Oh: Huggong run from Thursday 21 March until Sunday 5 May 2013.
The exhibitions are part of Christchurch Art Gallery’s Outer Spaces programme of art in the wider city.
For more information about the exhibition and other Outer Spaces projects visit www.christchurchartgallery.org.nz