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Is That the Art? A Broken Window In An Otherwise Empty Room

Is That the Art? A Broken Window In An Otherwise Empty Room

Walking into Enjoy Public Art Gallery, it is easy to assume that the gallery isn’t hosting an exhibition. The walls are blank and there appears to be nothing in the room. But talk to the gallery staff and you’ll soon find that what you may have mistaken for poor maintenance is part of their current exhibition by artists Isabella Dampney and Theo Macdonald.

Titled Heart of Glass, the duo’s exhibition takes its inspiration from Blondie’s 1979 hit single “Heart of Glass” and a 1976 Werner Herzog film of the same title. The aritsts, born 15 years after the single was released, have a nostalgic view of 1970s era of disco, new wave and rock n’ roll music. As part of the project, they’ve recorded their own ambient cover and music video of the hit single and have been promoting it to radio stations throughout the country.

The gallery has a long history of exhibiting experimental and often difficult art works, thought this is the first time the gallery has been purposefully damaged in the name of art. As Curator Sophie Davis states,

“Bella and Theo are playfully thinking about how people relate to and understand contemporary art—which tends to be viewed with a certain kind of humour or even suspicion—compared with, say, pop music. Rather than being confined to a gallery space, their work puts the emphasis on conversation.”

So far the exhibition has been met with both scepticism and interest from visitors. As the starting point of the exhibition, the broken window is a way of encouraging different conversation about what art can be and speaks to a history of art in Aotearoa that, for one reason or another, has attracted sensationalist headlines.

The artists are hosting an artist talk at Enjoy Public Art Gallery on March 29th from 6pm and anyone is welcome to come along to hear more about the project The exhibition closes Saturday April 7, 2018.


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