The Devil’s Blind Spot
Te Puna o Waiwhetu Christchurch Art Gallery has a long-standing tradition of curating exhibitions of emerging and early-career artists. We do this in order to contribute to the ecology of the local art world, as well as because – quite straightforwardly – we’re interested in the practices of artists at all stages of their careers, and would like to bring the work of outstanding younger artists to wider public attention. The Devil’s Blind Spot is the latest in this ongoing series, but unlike earlier exhibitions, it’s concerned with a single medium – photography.
Not Quite Human
Lara Strongman: The title of your new work for the Gallery is Quasi. Why did you call it that?
Ronnie van Hout: Initially it was a working title. Because the work would be outside the Gallery, on the roof, I was thinking of Quasimodo, from Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. I was coming out of a show and research around the idea of the freak, the outsider and things that are rejected—thinking about how even things that are rejected have a relationship to whatever they’ve been rejected by. And I called it Quasi, because it’s a human form that’s not quite human as well. The idea of something that resembles a human but is not quite human.
This article first appeared on Stuff as 'Modernism by motorbike' on 28 June 2016 and as 'Artist stumbled upon striking scenery on morning motorbike rides' in The Press on 30 June 2016.
Private Lodgings is a portrait of a lost Christchurch building that dates most probably from the 1860s.
When Bill Sutton painted it in 1954, it was an increasingly decrepit boarding house, on the corner of Manchester and Southwark streets, just out of the central city - opposite the much more famous Coker's Hotel.
When we asked Tony de Lautour to produce a new work for the Bunker—the name Gallery staff give to the small, square elevator building at the front of the forecourt on Montreal Street—he proposed a paint scheme inspired by Dazzle camouflage. Associated with the geometric near-abstraction of the vorticist movement, Dazzle was developed by British and American artists during the First World War to disguise shipping. It was a monumental form of camouflage that aimed not to hide the ship but to break up its mass visually and confuse enemies about its speed and direction. In a time before radar and sonar were developed, Dazzle was designed to disorientate German U-boat commanders looking through their periscopes, and protect the merchant fleets.
Senior curator Lara Strongman spoke with Tony de Lautour in late January 2016.
On Saturday, I spoke at the launch of a major new work of art in public space—Wayne Youle's installation The House of Wellbeing ALL WELCOME, at the CPIT Aoraki campus on Madras Street.
Twenty days in China and Japan
After ten days in China—where we visited an artist’s studio in a half-empty compound of 140 multi-storey buildings, a private museum of antiquities in a sky-scraper and a tiny artist-run space in a hutong (alleyway), and met writers and curators and art dealers and collectors all over Shanghai and Beijing, with a side trip to Nanjing—I wrote an anguished note to myself: how will I write an article about all this that’s not just a list?