From CASS to <del>CASS</del> - Iterations of New Zealand's 'greatest painting'


Over 50 iterations of Rita Angus's 1936 painting Cass are collated in André Hemer's new exhibition CASS, which considers ideas of distance, deletion and dislocation.

André Hemer CASS 2012

André Hemer CASS 2012

CASS is the latest exhibition in the Gallery's Rolling Maul series, and part of the Outer Spaces programme.

Gallery director, Jenny Harper says the exhibition invites us to consider what happens to the idea of a painting, in a world where it is constantly reproduced, responded to and altered by others.

'Cass, a very well-known work in our collection, has become deeply entwined with both our national and artistic identity. This was evident when it was voted New Zealand's greatest painting in a television poll in 2006.

'In addition to this public acclaim, Cass has also generated responses from a number of New Zealand artists, such as Dane Mitchell, Peter Peryer and Julian Dashper, who have created works that reference Angus's work, either representing the scene she painted or responding directly to Cass.

Curator Felicity Milburn says that Hemer's installation examines the constantly multiplying presence of Cass in the virtual world by sampling the many and varied images available through a Google image search for the work. He contrasts this with the inaccessibility of the original painting, currently in storage inside the temporarily closed Gallery building,

'The images of Cass throughout the real and virtual worlds seem endless, ranging from high-quality, 'legitimate', reproductions to cropped, blurred and otherwise corrupted versions.

'Hemer's exhibition presents us with a question: do the countless copies and versions of Cass that exist simultaneously across old and new media dilute the importance of the original - or do they reinforce it?'

CASS opens in the Gallery's offsite space above NG boutique and The National at 212 Madras Street 29 September – 22 October 2012.