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.
Patrick Pound, gathering thoughts through things
Based in Melbourne Patrick Pound is simultaneously artist, collector, curator, visual list maker and lecturer in photography. He spoke with Serena Bentley, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Victoria, about the logic of documents and museums of things.
The significance of everyday things
During the winter of 1984 my mother, father and I packed an overnight bag and climbed into Dad’s Hillman Hunter. I was five years old and, as far as I could remember, it was the first time we’d ever ventured outside of Blenheim.
Jonathan Mane-Wheoki: teacher
There are some teachers you remember all your life: extraordinary individuals who view learning as a boundless source of energy, both for themselves and their students. This sort of teacher has not only total command of their subject, but an infectious enthusiasm for it that transmits itself to the minds of others. Teachers like this create advocates for their subject. They impart knowledge, but more importantly they show you a way of being in the world. It's a rare teacher who teaches you how to learn, but Jonathan Mane-Wheoki was one such individual.
Bringing threads together
Dr Lara Strongman is the Gallery's new senior curator. She speaks to Bulletin about her passion for writing and art history, the importance of culture in a post-earthquake community and the contemporary curator.
Back on 20 September 2011, when our public programmes team began setting up the Hagley Park Geo Dome for a talk with Shane Cotton, they put out about sixty chairs and would have been glad to fill them. After all, it was a cold night in Christchurch, the roads were rough, the Geo Dome was off the beaten track and the quake had long since broken the rhythm of the Gallery's old Wednesday night programme of public talks.
Otira: it's a state of mind
A short road trip to the Otira Gorge was the scene for a conversation between Gallery curator Peter Vangioni and two of the artists included in Van der Velden: Otira, Jason Greig and the Torlesse Supergroup's Roy Montgomery.
Accidents and Variations
Lara Strongman: Let’s talk about the process of making the works for this exhibition. Can you describe how you produced them?
Julia Morison: I’ve never actually made ceramics before. I read Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with Amber Eyes, which is about a netsuke set that is passed through several generations. De Waal is a ceramicist and he talks in this book about objects and porcelain in such a visceral way—basically he seduced me into picking up a ball of clay and playing with it. For a long time I haven’t had the use of my hands [because of arthritis], so I thought that playing with clay might actually help strengthen them.
Marie Shannon talks to Lara Strongman
Lara Strongman: This show brings together thirty years or more of your work, put together with the curators from Dunedin Public Art Gallery. I wondered what you’d discovered through the process?
Marie Shannon: I discovered that I hadn’t moved very far. That’s not to say that I didn’t feel my work had developed, but I’d just run around in such confined territory. Of course that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I found it confronting to look at that short reach in my output. I had to convince myself that it didn’t all look like shit. (You probably can’t say that here because you want people to come and see the exhibition, but I’m being perfectly honest.) Each time the show was hung, I’d walk away feeling despondent and then I’d sort of think, “No, it’s actually okay”.