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Bowerbank Ninow presents "Game": 24 May, 2017

Bowerbank Ninow presents Game: 24 May, 2017

Dan Arps, Weak Idea Grid Study III, 2012, acrylic, epoxy, steel, padlock, 565mm x 660mm x 130mm

Don Driver’s 1994 work Game (from which the present exhibition takes its name) is, like most of the artist’s work, a meditation on borders and boundaries: between painting and sculpture, between the abstract and the figurative, and between materiality and thought.

A large tarpaulin is appliquéd with circular and rectangular patches of fabric, its dirty, creased surface suggesting that it has lain untended in a shed in some rural Taranaki farmstead or workshop for years, perhaps decades. Attached to this banner are a wooden board supporting three ping-pong paddles and a set of goat’s horns, as well as a hanging implement constructed from a further pair of horns and a branch, its purpose unclear—perhaps a makeshift ritual sceptre, perhaps a homemade stopgap tool. The subtle play of composition and colour are pleasing in their own right—Driver was a sophisticated student of modernism, after all—but the work, existing as it does in an uncertain, liminal space, raises more pressing questions: what is the game, referenced in the title? Who are the players? And what are they playing for?

However, this does not mean that the optimal solution is not to play at all. As Suits points out, a crucial component of what makes games function is the attitude of the players, their willingness to engage with the system and to accept its outcomes.

In addition to Don Driver, this exhibition includes work by Dan Arps, Mitch Cairns, Tom Kreisler, Oscar Perry, Kim Pieters and Jake Walker. Each of these works articulates and describes the artist’s creative process—the assembling of materials, the connection of ideas to one another, and so on—in effect, the systemic functioning of the art-game itself. John Danaher argues that the procedural nature of games—the act of playing—is part of what makes them valuable, and that the fact that their goals are arbitrary contributes to their value. By playing the art-game, these artists are also documenting and critiquing it, offering a para-textual invitation to the viewer to play along themselves.

Bowerbank Ninow · 312 Karangahape Rd · Newton · Auckland 1010 · New Zealand

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