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Exhibition explores encounter between Antarctica


Friday 14 September


Exhibition explores encounter between Antarctica, art and science

Acclaimed New Zealand artist Ruth Watson offers a poetic commentary on the porous borders and intriguing resemblances between art and science in her exhibition from white darkness.

Combining archival footage from Antarctica with Watson’s own Antarctic recordings, the exhibition is part of Christchurch Art Gallery's Outer Spaces programme of art in the wider city. It will be on display at NZ IceFest’s Hagley Park Ice Station from 14 September (NZ IceFest opens to the public at 5pm) to 14 October.


Stepping inside the exhibition space visitors will encounter an assortment of monitors showing Antarctic-related imagery from different times and contexts.

Christchurch Art Gallery director Jenny Harper says that ‘the fragmented, overlapping collage of image, text and sound is as ambiguous and disorientating as it is seductive’.

“Like the screens on which it is played, Watson’s source material has been salvaged from a range of eras, suggesting that this unofficial, interdisciplinary relationship began with the introduction of the Antarctic Treaty.”

“Watson’s work disrupts traditional assumptions about the stability of knowledge – celebrating slippage and uncertainty instead – and presents science, like art, as a fundamentally speculative venture.”

Curator Felicity Milburn says that Watson, who travelled to Antarctica in late 2011 while completing a Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies, is well known for works that consider mapping, measurement and the shifting line between what is known and unknown.

“Prized as a natural laboratory for a host of scientific fields, the Antarctic environment is mapped, measured, sampled and tested by researchers from all over the world, yet somehow the continent itself resists definition. Science is about the accumulation of knowledge, but it is also about testing propositions. For both artists and scientists, asking questions can be more important than finding answers”

Ruth Watson will also give an artist talk on Sunday 23 September, 7pm in the UC Geo Dome, Hagley Park Ice Station. Entry is free.

Born in Canterbury, Ruth Watson has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the United States since the mid-1980s, and her work is held in all New Zealand’s major public collections as well as that of the National Gallery of Australia. from white darkness is her 40th solo project. The artist acknowledges the support of the Elam School of Fine Arts Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF).

For more information visit www.christchurchartgallery.org.nz and www.nzicefest.co.nz

ENDS

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