Ronnie van Hout

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1962

House and School

  • Purchased 2004
  • Mixed media
  • 2004/49.a-k
  • 2001

Ronnie van Hout’s installation recreates his childhood home in Aranui, a suburb of eastern Christchurch, and his primary school in nearby Wainoni. A looped video replays his daily bike ride between the two locations. Together, these elements present the story of van Hout’s beginnings.

Familiar architectural structures, however, are taken beyond the ordinary by the presence of a hovering, makeshift UFO, whose surveillance results appear on a nearby monitor. Can we read this as a picture of suburban childhood experience as an alien might see it, or as the artist’s memorial to the need for imaginative survival and escape? (Above ground, 2015)

earlier labels about this work
  • With this installation Ronnie van Hout recreates his childhood home in the Christchurch suburb of Aranui, and his primary school in nearby Wainoni.

    A looped video replays the breathless bike ride between these two locations, while a makeshift UFO hovers above, the results of its surveillance visible on another monitor. Together, these objects reflect van Hout’s fascination with dislocation, estrangement and otherworldliness.

    Van Hout was born in Christchurch and studied at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts, majoring in Film Studies. His work is represented in collections in New Zealand and internationally. In 2004 Van Hout held a Creative New Zealand Visual Arts Residency at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. (Label from about 2007)

Related

Artist interview
Not Quite Human

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.

Notes
Christchurch-born artist Ronnie van Hout part of Populate!

Christchurch-born artist Ronnie van Hout part of Populate!

Ronnie van Hout is the artist responsible for the mysterious figure pointing skywards that has appeared on the roof of a central city building.

Notes
Life lessons

Life lessons

Open, closed or merged; there's no doubt these are challenging days for all schools in Canterbury.

Notes
Night light

Night light

Ronnie van Hout's latest film, The creation of the world, is a nocturnal highlight on Worcester Boulevard at present.

Notes
I lived here

I lived here

Some public art has been ruined by the earthquake: look at poor old Godley and Rolleston. But some has actually become better and more resonant – risen to the occasion, you might say. A prime example sits inconspicuously at the entrance to a suburban driveway on Breezes Road near the settling ponds, in the heart of the hard-hit east.

Notes
The Easy Ride

The Easy Ride

Cycling is still one of the easiest way to get round the inner suburbs of Christchurch after the run of recent earthquakes, but you have to have your wits about you.

Notes
But seriously

But seriously

When it comes to contemporary painting, seriousness has a way of turning into solemnity, and solemn art is just asking for it.