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Artist reflects on civic memories

MEDIA RELEASE Friday 31 September 2012

Artist reflects on civic memories

Scott Flanagan’s sculptural exhibition Do You Remember Me Like I Do? at Christchurch Art Gallery’s off-site gallery in the NG building until 23 September combines found objects, meticulously woven VHS tape and a remarkable set of artists’ books to reflect on the idea of civic memory.

Flanagan’s show is the fifth in the Gallery’s Rolling Maul series, which aims to foster the production and exhibition of new art in Christchurch.

After losing his Central City studio in February 2011, Flanagan moved temporarily to Dunedin. He took up an artist residency at Blue Oyster Gallery later showing at the Suter Art Gallery in Nelson. Christchurch Art Gallery Director Jenny Harper says Flanagan is an artist who has a strong connection with Christchurch.

“It’s wonderful to see Scott back in Christchurch, making new work here, as this is what the Rolling Maul series is all about,” Ms Harper says.

A feature of the exhibition is a large wishing well, painstakingly woven from VHS tape over several days. Now rendered almost obsolete through the development of digital technology, the glossy, pixelating tape suggests how tenuous and elusive our connection with the past can be. Elsewhere in the exhibition, the woven tape has been stretched within two ornate frames, creating dark, mirror-like surfaces that draw visitors into the exhibition reminding them of the role they play in bringing the installation to life.

“The tape, of course, is loaded with information, but we have no way of retrieving it, “ says Christchurch Art Gallery Curator Felicity Milburn. “It reflects our altered and fragmented image back at us, playing with the separation between present and past and bringing to light how our own memories and associations are inextricably linked to our understanding of history.”

Although the exhibition is conceptual in approach, the works and furnishings are deliberately domestic and personal, and this quality continues in The Rose Collection, a set of artist books made by Flanagan and sent out to friends and colleagues within New Zealand and around the world for them to ‘complete’ and return. The resulting objects range from the exquisite to the confessional, and reflect the wildly varying styles of the contributing artists, writers and poets. In one case, the small notebook Flanagan sent off evolved into an expressive and colourful book so large that it has been accommodated in a separate room.

The Rolling Maul series is generously supported by Creative New Zealand.

First floor, NG building, 212 Madras Street, Christchurch
10am - 5pm weekdays and 10am - 4pm weekends
Parking area behind NG. Please be advised there is no wheelchair access.

Rolling Maul is part of Christchurch Art Gallery’s Outer Spaces programme of art in the wider city. For more information visit www.christchurchartgallery.org.nz .

ENDS

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