SCAPE 8 Public Art Christchurch Biennial artists announced
SCAPE 8 Public Art Christchurch Biennial artists announced
The SCAPE 8 Public Art Christchurch Biennial was introduced last night by curator Rob Garrett, who described the curatorial theme, New Intimacies, and announced the participating artists to a full house at the Physics Room in Christchurch.
The artists invited to create new site-specific public art works for the biennial are Nathan Pohio (Waitaha, Kāti Mamoe, and Kāi Tahu), Christchurch; Pauline Rhodes, Christchurch; Hannah Kidd, Methven; Fiona Jack, Auckland; Judy Millar, Auckland/Berlin; Peter Atkins, Australia, and Antony Gormley, from Norfolkshire, England. Their projects are still being developed, with the titles and locations of their works to be released in July 2015.
“Returning to Christchurch last year after some years away,” says Rob Garrett, “it was obvious how the city’s changed appearance plays tricks on the memories of locals and visitors alike. Standing in places once shaped by familiar landmarks – a friend’s place, a favourite café or bookstore – I wondered if the SCAPE 8 public art projects could, in some modest way, help people form new, memorable and intimate connections with the fabric of the city as it is now. The artists I invited to participate have each been inspired by the same desire.”
Alongside the artists’ works, two public participation projects were also revealed.
#ThatTimeYouHelped - Our Portraits of People Reaching Out to One Another, invites locals to create photo-portraits of “a person who has helped you or others” and to upload them to an online gallery.
For those who want to gain some new skills or insights, there will also be a series of free Saturday workshops during SCAPE 8 - The ‘How-To’ Guide to Making Portraits - which will be run by members of the local creative sector. A call-out to Christchurch’s creative sector for workshop proposals was released at last night’s launch.
SCAPE 8 New Intimacies
Garrett explained that the title for the 2015 biennial, New Intimacies, comes from the idea that visually striking and emotionally engaging public art works can create new connections between people and places. Under the main theme of New Intimacies there are three other themes that artists will respond to: Sight-Lines, Inner Depths and Shared Strengths.
Sight-Lines engages with the changed landscape of the city centre, with its new vistas opened up across city blocks, out to the Port Hills and beyond. Artists have been invited to consider how the city’s new spatial character has the potential to stimulate fresh thinking.
Inner Depths recognises Christchurch as a water city; where liquefaction, flood and failed infrastructure mean that water has taken on a new significance. Through this theme, artists were invited to explore subterranean strata and water flows, as well as exploring underground water as a metaphor for the city’s cultural layers and memories.
Shared Strengths recognises the resilience of people, and the power of helpfulness and self-organising communities to buoy the city through tough years. Several SCAPE 8 projects honour and celebrate the ongoing, everyday phenomenon of people helping each other.
SCAPE Public Art Director Deborah McCormick says, “The themes of New Intimacies demonstrate Rob’s responsiveness, both to the city of Christchurch post quakes and to the biennial format. I am delighted that local community-based projects have been included as part of the programme and am looking forward to watching them unfurl.”
SCAPE Public Art works closely with industry and business partners to deliver artistically excellent artworks, which enliven public spaces and add artistic expression to the Christchurch rebuild landscape. As with Previous SCAPE Public Art Christchurch biennials, SCAPE 8 will see the installation of one major legacy/permanent public artwork for Christchurch. This legacy artwork, backed by the Christchurch City Council Public Art Advisory Group and Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), will be that of renowned British sculptor, Antony Gormley.
The SCAPE 8 Public Art Christchurch Biennial is a contemporary art event, which mixes new artworks with existing legacy pieces, an education programme, and a public programme of events. The SCAPE 8 artworks will be located around central Christchurch and linked via a public art walkway. All aspects of SCAPE 8 are free-to-view and will be available to visit over a period of six weeks between 3 October and 15 November 2015.
Rob Garrett is a New Zealand-born curator based in Poland, with more than 35 years in the art sector, including curatorial experience in New Zealand, Italy, Sweden, France, Turkey, Germany and India. Most recently he curated the 2013 Narracje public art festival in Gdańsk, Poland.
More detailed information about the SCAPE 8 Public Art Christchurch Biennial and artists is available on the website www.scapepublicart.org.nz/scape-8
The SCAPE 8 Public Art Christchurch Biennial is pleased to announce our platinum sponsors: Creative New Zealand, the Christchurch City Council, the Canterbury Community Trust, Westpac and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA).
Media Kit 2 April 2015
ARTISTS AND THEMES FOR SCAPE 8 ANNOUNCED
SCAPE Public Art Christchurch Biennial (3 October to 15 November 2015)
The SCAPE Public Art Christchurch Biennial in 2015 is curated by New Zealand-born international curator Rob Garrett and will present seven new site-specific public art works in Christchurch as well as two exciting public participation projects.
This media kit introduces the artists of SCAPE 8 and describes the over-arching curatorial themes for the biennial.
Curator: Rob Garrett is a New Zealand-born independent curator based in Poland, with more than 35 years in the contemporary art sector, including curatorial experience in New Zealand, Poland, Italy, Sweden, France, Turkey, Germany and India. He recently curated Unearthing Delights, the 5th edition of Narracje - Installations and Interventions in Public Space, Gdańsk, Poland (November 2013). He is the initiator and curator of an ongoing international programme of emergent projects at Corner window gallery, a non-profit space on Auckland's Karangahape Road, New Zealand.
Public talks: Rob Garrett will announce the artists and themes of SCAPE in a New Zealand-wide speaking tour:
• 6:00pm, Thursday, 1 April, Physics Room, Christchurch
• 7:30pm, Wednesday, 8 April, Dunedin Public Art Gallery
• 6:00pm, Thursday, 9 April, City Gallery Wellington
• 6:00pm, Wednesday, 15 April, Auckland Art Gallery
Rob Garrett: http://www.robgarrettcfa.com/about
About SCAPE Public Art
SCAPE Public Art was established in 1999 with the vision of inspiring Christchurch people to be excited, engaged and stimulated by contemporary public art that is well regarded and known by the national and international art world. SCAPE Public Art installs public art all year round, with a focus on the Christchurch Biennials, which it produces on alternate years.
The SCAPE Public Art Christchurch Biennial is an international contemporary art event, which mixes new artworks with existing legacy pieces and presents an education programme and a public programme of events. Now in its eighth iteration, the SCAPE Public Art Christchurch Biennials have established a reputation as New Zealand's premier public art events.
SCAPE 8 (3 October - 15 November 2015) will be held in Christchurch’s central city public spaces and is supported through a range of partnerships. SCAPE 8 will showcase leading national and international contemporary artists, as well as being a springboard for emerging local talent. The works are created as a result of close collaboration between art and business.
SCAPE 8 will also see the conclusion of German light artist, Mischa Kuball’s legacy work for Christchurch, Solidarity Grid. The project consists of a single streetlamp from each of 21 cities around the globe being gifted to Christchurch as a gesture of solidarity with the city during its recovery and rebuild process. Cyclists and pedestrians are already enjoying eleven of these streetlamps, which can be seen standing tall along a section of Park Terrace. The remaining ten streetlamps will be added to this exciting, exploratory trail throughout 2015, culminating in the dedication during SCAPE 8.
For over two decades Mischa Kuball, from Düsseldorf, Germany, has been working conceptually and artistically with artificial light. He creates works that beneath their coolness and academically oriented phrasing, are driven by the heart.
Other legacy/permanent works which have been produced by SCAPE Public Art are free for the public to visit at locations around the central city. Many of these legacy works are displayed in the image tile below, or see http://www.scapepublicart.org.nz/permanent-works for the full list.
SCAPE 8 Public Art Christchurch Biennial Title and themes:
New Intimacies: Sight-lines, Inner Depths & Shared Strengths
Christchurch locals and visitors alike have commented on the tricks the city’s new appearance plays on their memories of what was before. Memory, forgetting and amnesia intermingle as people stand in places that were once shaped by familiar visual markers: a landmark, building, workplace, bar, favourite café, bookstore, shop or dwelling. Disorientation and an inescapable sense of loss are common feelings. The SCAPE 8 Christchurch Biennial asks whether art can help people form new, memorable and intimate connections with the fabric of the city as it is now: an admixture of denudation, ruin, innovative make-do and lively construction. Can the biennial art projects help in the task of creating visually memorable places for people to anchor themselves to, whether as locals or visitors? This question is one dimension of a much broader question: how can a public art biennial engage with the spatial and social fabric of city life, where uncertainty and opportunity seem equally matched and the real situations of the everyday are a robust warning against frivolity?
The spatial geometry of the inner city, with its once dominant street grid flanked by medium and high-rise buildings, has now become an open field- traversed easily by foot and a wandering gaze. Opened out, the city has become a place where diagonal lines of sight and looking across vacant lots are the norm. Distant, once-hidden views – for example, the Port Hills – are now opened up from the city centre. These new vistas have the potential to stimulate the imagination and encourage fresh and alternative visions for re-making the city. Projects planned for the biennial include those designed to encourage looking across the city’s open spaces with imagination and hope.
Christchurch has become a water city. Subsidence, liquefaction, flood and failed infrastructure mean that water has taken on a new presence and significance for everyone. Some cities that are built on water occupy a romantic niche in the imagination, but Christchurch is not Italy’s Venice, Belgium’s Bruges, Mexico’s Mexicaltitan, China’s Zhouzhang or Benin’s Ganvie. Instead, the other popular myth in which water and a city collide - the sinking of Atlantis - has come to haunt the daily reality of people, not just in Christchurch, but across the Pacific through rising sea levels, tsunamis, floods, surge tides, elevated water-tables and sinking lands. In Christchurch, firm ground is hard to secure. This is the reality. But water is also a powerful symbol. Those who wish to dig deeper into the human soul and spirit will find depths of resilience and imagination that have proved necessary for finding ways ahead in this newly unstable terrain. Tapping into our own inner core, our deeper self, may be necessary simply to ‘get through’ and then beyond that, to be able to conceive of and actualise new ventures, sustainable ventures; and even to find optimism. SCAPE 8 projects will explore the city’s subterranean strata and water flows, cultural layers and memories, and the realities of trying to find oneself while facing an uncertain future.
Inner strength on its own only goes so far; and what Christchurch has demonstrated in bucketfuls (literally) is the power of shared strength, and especially the power of volunteering and self-organising communities. On any day people across the city have found, and continue to find, the strength and capacity to help others: their neighbours, family members, colleagues, or strangers half-a-city away. Today they have strength to share; tomorrow they may be the ones to need and receive help from another. The ebb and flow of people helping those less able has buoyed the city through some tough years. In response to these social phenomena, SCAPE 8 will create platforms to honour and celebrate people helping each other.
Nathan Pohio (Waitaha, Kāti Mamoe and Kāi Tahu/New Zealand) – lives and works in Christchurch
Pauline Rhodes (New Zealand) – lives and works in Christchurch
Hannah Kidd (New Zealand) – lives and works in Methven
#ThatTimeYouHelped – Our Portraits of People Reaching Out to One Another – a public participation project
The ‘How-To’ Guide to Making Portraits – free workshops presented by the local creative sector
Fiona Jack (New Zealand) – lives and works in Auckland
Judy Millar (New Zealand) – lives and works in Auckland / Berlin
Peter Atkins (Australia) – lives and works in Melbourne
Antony Gormley (England) – lives and works in Norfolkshire / London
Nathan Pohio (Waitaha, Kāti Mamoe, and Kāi Tahu/New Zealand)
Nathan Pohio (b.1970) belongs to Te Hapu O Nga Te Wheke, Te Hapu O Ngai Tuahuriri; and the Tribes Waitaha, Kāti Mamoe and Kāi Tahu. The phenomena of building-collapses and demolitions have exposed vacant basements, many of which are now flooded, and these call to mind our psychological and spiritual depths, our intuitive selves, but also our amnesia. Pohio makes photographs, videos and lightboxes that explore this territory in evocative and poetic ways. Pohio’s recent work is often about the cultural layers and forgotten stories lying just beneath the surface of our everyday visible world. He draws attention to the various pasts of a place so that we might feel, reflect on and discuss our place in the world with new insights. For SCAPE he has been investigating early exchanges between Māori and European settlers in the Christchurch area and how memories of these might help us locate ourselves in our shifting everyday lives.
Nathan Pohio (Waitaha, Kāti Mamoe and Kāi Tahu/New Zealand):
Pauline Rhodes (New Zealand)
Pauline Rhodes (b.1937) is one of New Zealand’s most senior and well-regarded artists, and a pioneer of site-specific installations (her first installation was in 1977). As a Christchurch resident she has long been interested in the city’s waterways, tidal zones and geomorphology. Her gallery installations (‘intensums’) typically involve assemblages of found and processed materials (such as water pipes, steel concrete reinforcing mesh, fabrics, paper and ropes; as well as drawings and photographs which give evidence of her actions and ideas) that have their corollary in prior actions and temporary installations in the outdoors (which she calls ‘extensums’). As a keen kayaker of the Avon River the artist has also been observing and commenting on the changing state of the city’s river. Rhodes does not make permanent objects. Given her long-standing commitment to Christchurch, her interest in the city’s substrata and water-flows, and her commitment to using reusable and recyclable materials as much as possible in her installations, she is a perfect fit for the SCAPE 8 programme; and she espouses a modest and ephemeral approach to public sculpture.
For SCAPE 8 the artist is enigmatic: “In the project ordinary industrial components will be used in the work. They are intended to articulate ideas of movement, flow and relocation in the urban environment. At the end of the project the components will be returned to their manufacturers for reuse.” - Pauline Rhodes.
Pauline Rhodes (New Zealand):
Hannah Kidd (New Zealand)
Methven-based artist Hannah Kidd graduated from the Dunedin School of Art in 2001 and is well-known throughout New Zealand for her ‘portraits’ of everyday characters and animals sculpted from steel rod and re-cycled iron sheets, which she has been known to flatten with the wheels of her tractor. As a skilled portraitist of ordinary people, using an easily accessible and intriguing technique, Kidd is an ideal fit for SCAPE 8’s “Shared Strengths” theme. Kidd’s project will be her first public-realm art commission. Thinking about her post-quake experiences, the artist is engaged by the sight of people doing rather normal, everyday activities.
“This is what keeps coming up for me when I think about how people helped each other through the Christchurch earthquakes. Help came in all shapes and sizes and not always heroic or dramatic gestures- more domestic. A city in flux needs consistency and this is what helps people feel normal: by going to work, to school, keeping the garden, exercising- ‘Shared Strengths;’ not just helping in the immediate aftermath of the quakes, but the things that were done in the weeks and months following, and things that are still being done.” - Hannah Kidd.
Hannah Kidd (New Zealand):
#ThatTimeYouHelped: Our Portraits of People Reaching Out to One Another
#ThatTimeYouHelped is one of two lively public participation projects in the SCAPE 8 programme. SCAPE will invite anyone local to make and upload photos of people they know, who have shown kindness, for all to share.
There has been a lot said about the spirit of Cantabrians in the months and years since the quakes. In the immediate aftermath, volunteer armies sprung up, neighbours reached out to one another – above and beyond the call of duty. Now four years since, the city is changing rapidly. Where the situation once required heroism, flexibility, and pulling together on a massive scale, now we are seeing a return to more individual everyday rhythms. There are daily challenges to be faced. The feelings are mixed. Optimism and hope are tinged with frustration and anger; folk are tired of the rebuild dance – two steps forward one step back- but a brighter future beckons. Despite everything, life goes on. Communities wax and wane, another building is knocked down and a new one springs up in its place. And the people remain.
As time has passed, the little things have become more important. Humble victories are celebrated quietly: moving back home, a smooth(-ish) drive to work, a good night’s sleep. In this environment, we wish to honour the value of small gestures of kindness, and those who make them. The offer of temporary accommodation, a hand shifting the furniture across town, or just being available to listen – such simple things make a huge difference to the day-to-day grind. The generosity in these gestures, the resilience and the care – this is what we wish to celebrate.
SCAPE Public Art will invite members of the public to celebrate each other by uploading a photo to Instagram, using #ThatTimeYouHelped, of someone they think embodies the local spirit of helpfulness and kindness, and tell the world the story of their everyday kindness. The invitation to ‘take and upload a photo of someone who has shown kindness’ is aimed at everyone. It will be a celebration and honouring of everyday helpfulness and the locals who keep the community’s well-being ticking over.
The ‘How-To’ Guide to Making Portraits: Workshops by Locals for Locals
“The ‘How To’ Guide to Making Portraits” is the second of two lively public participation projects in the SCAPE 8 programme, in which we celebrate the skills and talents of people in the local creative sector and invite them to offer free portrait-making workshops – in any style or form – to members of the public including children and young people.
SCAPE Public Art will make an open call to the local creative sector on 1 April, 2015, inviting submissions for Portrait Making Workshops. SCAPE is seeking all sorts of ideas for innovative and fun-filled workshops, from all sorts of talents: fine artists, video and filmmakers, photographers, forensic artists, cartoonists, comic artists and others we don’t yet know about.
“We really want to see what the local creative sector is excited by and we’ll take their lead on this,” says curator Rob Garrett.
Once we have received proposals, the selected workshops will be offered free to the public during SCAPE 8 at Arts Central (corner of Gloucester and Colombo Streets). “First and foremost this idea is about celebrating and sharing the amazing skills and experience of the local creative sector,” says Garrett, “and of course it is also about the fun of taking part; and the enjoyment of sharing and learning a new skill.”
Fiona Jack (New Zealand)
Fiona Jack is an Auckland-based artist highly regarded for her socio-political art, community and collaborative public art, and gallery practices. She has a Master of Fine Arts from Cal Arts in Los Angeles and a Bachelor’s degree in design from AUT, Auckland. She is Senior Lecturer at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. Her highly conceptual work, always thoroughly grounded in local research and community engagement, has taken the form of billboards, photography, installation, banners, flags, posters, books and artist publications. For SCAPE 8 Fiona Jack was asked to find an aspect of the local situation that engages her, relating to the “Shared Strengths” theme.
Of SCAPE 8, Fiona says: “A biennial that exists only in public space is an idea I am drawn to. I appreciate the long lead-in I have had for this project, as it has allowed for ideas and connections to slowly find their own way into being. Canterbury is where my mum grew up, so it is nice for me to be learning more about the region.”
Fiona Jack (New Zealand):
Judy Millar (New Zealand)
Judy Millar (b.1957) is considered one of New Zealand’s foremost painters. Central themes in the artist’s large-scale paintings include the relationships between canvas and paint, stasis and movement, and the place of painting in art history. She lives and works in New Zealand and Germany, typically spending half the year in Anawhata, Auckland and the other half in Berlin.
Millar’s large-scale ‘vinyl-printed’ abstract paintings have been proven within gallery and architectural settings (most notably her “Giraffe-Bottle-Gun” for the New Zealand pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2009), and now is the time to see the artist’s approach to urban space. Her painting technique- which is actually primarily a stripping back and reductive process, rather than the additive processes of the ‘heroic’ abstractionists – is also aptly suited to the stripped-back condition of the city’s urban core today. Adding to the mix, the artist has also created a children’s pop-up book in collaboration with writer Trish Gribben. It will be exciting to see how all these strands come together in her major new work for SCAPE 8 in Christchurch.
Judy Millar (New Zealand):
Peter Atkins (Australia)
Peter Atkins (b.1963) primarily makes paintings in series, distinctive because his starting point is always the readymade: taking road signage, medicine packets, train tickets and record sleeves and removing all text and figurative elements to leave abstract colour fields, which he then uses as the basis for new works. SCAPE 8 provides Atkins with the opportunity to realise a major, site-specific public artwork. The artist was attracted to this project “because it offered enormous scope to delve into the narratives the city has to offer, particularly around the damage and destruction wrought by the 2011 earthquake as well as the subsequent rebuild of the city,” he says.
Atkins’ concept continues the artist’s exploration into readymade abstraction; makes timely reference to locals’ and visitors’ ongoing experiences of remembering and forgetting locations, and is a quiet comment on the difficulties of navigating your way around the inner city by car during the rebuild period where road closures appear and disappear with regularity.
Peter Atkins (Australia):
Antony Gormley (United Kingdom)
Antony Gormley (b.1950) is one of the world’s foremost sculptors with wide experience of creating site-specific art works in the public realm. The artist will present a new site-specific project across two locations in Christchurch. This is Gormley’s first presentation in New Zealand and his works will become a permanent feature in Christchurch’s central city, backed by the Christchurch City Council Public Art Advisory Group and Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA).
Antony Gormley was invited by curator Rob Garrett to consider developing a project for Christchurch at this particular time, while the city is still working through multiple post-quake traumas at the same time as the rebuild activity is visible everywhere. Gormley’s work is a good fit for Christchurch for the profound yet simple humanity of his projects, and for the way he is able to articulate lines of sight within environments of great scale. His projects – when individual elements are distributed across great distances – can provide linking or unifying patterns and repetitions across spatially complex sites. At once accessible and humble, Gormley’s Christchurch project will provide an excellent bridge between the three sub-themes of SCAPE 8: the visual navigation points provided by “Sight-lines” sculptures, the reflective and inward-looking character of “Inner Depths” art works, and the everyday sociability of “Shared Strengths” projects.
Antony Gormley (United Kingdom):