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Simon Denny recreates Kim Dotcom’s personal effects

Simon Denny recreates Kim Dotcom’s personal effects at the Adam Art Gallery

Predator sculpture, Skin-graft, Rotorua, photograph by Tracey Robinson

Who owns what? How has the internet changed our relation to the world? These are two of the many questions Simon Denny raises in the latest exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery, opening on Saturday 4 October.

The Personal Effects of Kim Dotcom is the first museum-scale solo exhibition in New Zealand by the New Zealand-born, Berlin-based artist Simon Denny. Taking over all three floors of the Adam Art Gallery, Denny’s exhibition recreates the entire inventory of confiscated items taken by New Zealand police during a dramatic raid on the home of German internet entrepreneur, Kim Dotcom, in January 2012.

First presented at mumok (Museum moderner Kunst Shiftung Ludwig Wien) in Vienna, Austria, in July 2013, and then restaged at Firstsite in Colchester, England, Denny’s show has been completely rethought for the Adam Art Gallery spaces.

The artist, who is to represent New Zealand at the Venice Biennale in 2015, has set himself and the gallery the challenge of reimagining material belongings such as luxury cars, art works, flatscreens, and computer equipment—as well as less tangible property, including bank accounts and domain names.

The exhibition will feature a new suite of 110 printed canvases designed and produced by the artist in conversation with designer David Bennewith, together with an array of products, art works, parts, models and samples that have been sourced from private collectors, public repositories and commercial providers, or adapted and remade for the occasion.

The collaborative nature of the undertaking is highlighted by the involvement of graffiti artists Cut Collective—Ed Bats and Sean Duffell—who have been invited by Denny to recreate elements of their mural commissioned by Dotcom for the gaming room of his Auckland mansion.

“Simon Denny is interested in rethinking the role Kim Dotcom has increasingly played as a larger-than-life character who is dominating New Zealand’s media landscape. He uses Dotcom’s case to ask questions about the evolving status of information, property rights and privacy,” says Adam Art Gallery Director, Christina Barton.

“When we invited Simon to undertake a show at the Adam Art Gallery back in 2012 we had no idea just how culturally impacting the Dotcom story would become. But the real purpose of Denny’s exhibition is not to delve into the private life of this prominent German-born businessman. Instead, his aim is to test and question how we engage with things in an era defined by a changing awareness of the impact of global networked communication facliitated by the internet, and the political and philosophical consequences of this.

“Simon is fascinated by what happens when a logic that functions on the internet is sourced and applied to exhibition making. The exhibition becomes a dynamic context where information, images and objects intermingle. Here, distinctions between image and function, original and copy, scale and material are open to renegotiation.”

Simon Denny is fast emerging as a leading contemporary artist. As well as being selected to represent New Zealand at the 2015 Venice Biennale, he is also a finalist for the Auckland Art Gallery’s 2014 Walters Prize for his artwork All You Need is Data—The DLD 2012 Conference REDUX.

What: Simon Denny, The Personal Effects of Kim Dotcom

Where: Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington, Gate 3, Kelburn Parade

When: 4 October–19 December

Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–5pm (closed on Monday)

Free entry

Special events:

The exhibition will be launched by Heather Galbraith, New Zealand Commissioner for the 2015 Venice Biennale, at 6pm on Friday 3 October. Media are welcome to attend.

On Saturday 4 October at 11am, the Adam Art Gallery will host a free public conversation between Simon Denny and the investigative writer Nicky Hager in the context of Denny’s exhibition.


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