B.

What's going on in Sydenham?

Behind the scenes

Your father or grandfather probably had one. Maybe you've created one of your own. Possibly there's one on a wall at home, left there by a previous owner.

I'm talking about the home-made 'shadow boards' that you'll find in workshops, suburban garages and tool sheds all over the land. Usually made from a standard-size section of peg board, often sealed with paint left over from some other interior decorating job (avocado green from the kitchen, perhaps, or lemon yellow from the bathroom do-up). And then carefully inscribed with the shapes or shadows of all the key tools in the arsenal: hammers, wrenches, saws, etc..

In Sydenham right now, Christchurch Art Gallery and Gap Filler are working with local artist Wayne Youle to create the biggest shadow board you will see anywhere (I know I railed against exaggeration the other day, but it really is the biggest). Over the next couple of weeks you can watch it growing day by day on a colossal wall at the 'gateway' to Sydenham, on your left on Colombo Street just over the Moorhouse overbridge. There are progress reports here and here, and here's a section of the design itself...

Wayne Youle, I seem to have temporarily misplaced my sense of humour, 2011. Design for a mural presented by Christchurch Art Gallery in collaboration with Gap Filler.

Wayne Youle, I seem to have temporarily misplaced my sense of humour, 2011. Design for a mural presented by Christchurch Art Gallery in collaboration with Gap Filler.

When Wayne was first invited to create a mural for Sydenham, he thought about what the suburb means to him. Youle loves to make art with a crisp and pristine finish, and Sydenham is a place he often goes to work or consult with local tradespeople when creating a new work of art. The side streets of the suburb boast what must be the city's densest concentration of upholsterers, sign-makers and automotive painters – people who make 'finish' their business. At the same time, of course, Wayne was thinking about the suburb's post-quake fate – about the grievous blow dealt to so many of its humble and character-rich brick buildings.

And all this led Wayne to the thought of old-school shadow boards and their silhouetted tools. Hammers, wrenches and saws all appear on the board Wayne's designed for Sydenham, but there are also some tools like shovels and sledgehammers that have a special local resonance (silt to shift or walls to topple, anyone?). The real surprises on his board, however, are the shadow images of dozens of familiar things – among them cameras, wedding rings, a teddy bear, a guitar, a toilet, and even a house.

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Wayne says: "I thought of the number of things that are missing or gone for good after the earthquakes. Things that hold not only financial but personal value. These things may have gone, but there is also a 'fix-it' attitude in Sydenham and in Christchurch. This is why there are tons of tool silhouettes. They are being used for the re-build of something, be it big or small, for one or for all."

Now that quite a few staff at the Gallery and Gap Filler have seen the design, it's clear people are going to enjoy finding their own favourite 'shadow' on the board. But I suspect the key shadow might be the funny-face mask that appears near the centre of the work – a suggestion, maybe, that a sense of the absurd is a crucial post-quake survival tool. Wayne's title for the work appears to bear this out: I seem to have temporarily misplaced my sense of humour.

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So come and see it grow. And while you're in Sydenham, check out Gap Filler's community Chess Set just a stone's throw along Colombo. (And while we're here, a big thanks to David Wagner and Wagner Holdings, Mike Jones, B&F Papers and VINZ Sydenham.)

Related

Exhibition
I seem to have temporarily misplaced my sense of humour

I seem to have temporarily misplaced my sense of humour

Stretching across a vast wall at the gateway to Sydenham, Wayne Youle's new public artwork is a shadowboard, where tools for rebuilding hang alongside many familiar but precious objects.

Artist Profile
Wayne Youle: Look Mum No Hands

Wayne Youle: Look Mum No Hands

He’s been called a cultural prankster, an agent provocateur and a bullshit artist (that last description came from his dad, but it was bestowed – he’s pretty sure – with love). While we’re at it, add ‘serial pun merchant’ to that list; in art, as in conversation, Wayne Youle can spot a good one-liner a mile off and has never knowingly left an entendre undoubled.

Exhibition
Wayne Youle: Look Mum No Hands

Wayne Youle: Look Mum No Hands

Full to the brim with high energy, sharp-witted artmaking

Notes
The House of Wellbeing

The House of Wellbeing

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.

Collection
ALONE TIME
Wayne Youle ALONE TIME

An obsessively ordered, subversively witty re-imagining of Wayne Youle’s studio, ALONE TIME also evokes a more abstract space: the creative sanctuary any artist must carve out from everyday life for the serious business of making art. A bunker, a tree-house, a ‘room of one’s own’, it’s full to bursting with references to the humour, self-doubt and daily work ethic required to build and sustain an artistic practice – not to mention the magic wand.

(Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)

Article
Sparks that fly upwards

Sparks that fly upwards

Curator Felicity Milburn remembers five years and 101 installations in a gallery without walls.

 

Exhibition
Dear John/ Welcome Back/ With Love

Dear John/ Welcome Back/ With Love

It might be old-school, but everyone likes to get a postcard, and Wayne Youle’s latest project invites visitors to communicate their Gallery experience, create their own art mail or just write a letter to their mum.

Notes
Viva Sydenham

Viva Sydenham

It seems a lifetime ago that we combined with Gap Filler to launch the Gallery's first post-quake Outer Spaces project in Sydenham. 

Collection
The Saviour
Wayne Youle The Saviour

In the weeks and months that followed the devastating earthquake on 22 February 2011, many Christchurch people looked in vain for a ‘hero on a white horse’ to lead the city out of crisis. Galloping creakily to nowhere, Wayne Youle’s riderless Saviour punctures the notion of a knight in shining armour. Instead, it emphasises his belief that this city’s salvation lies in the hands of ordinary people: all those who stayed – through choice or necessity – and contributed to the recovery in countless, unsung ways.

(Unseen: The Changing Collection, 18 December 2015 – 19 June 2016)

Exhibition
Tricksters

Tricksters

Expect the rug to be pulled out from under your feet with the last exhibition in the Rolling Maul series.

Notes
Wayne’s workshop

Wayne’s workshop

Wayne Youle ran a two-day workshop for 25 teenagers over the weekend. Students from an array of local Christchurch secondary schools were challenged to keep up with Wayne's non-stop energy... and to learn creative and design skills.

Notes
Where in the world is this year's first outer space?

Where in the world is this year's first outer space?

So Wayne's wall is all done (and gloriously untagged) and Ronnie's peering out nightly over the Boulevard.

Notes
Shine on you crazy public art diamond

Shine on you crazy public art diamond

Just one last weather report, before this blog starts looking like a franchise of metservice.com...

Notes
LOVING THE BULLDOG

LOVING THE BULLDOG

You could be forgiven for thinking that Wayne Youle is giving the French Bulldog a big hug.

Notes
New bunker work installed

New bunker work installed

We've just had Wayne Youle in, creating a new work for the Gallery's carpark bunker.