Neil Pardington

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1962
Clan Cameron, Scottish, Kāti Waewae, Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Māori

Te Whare o Rangiora (Chair)

  • 2002
  • LED/C-print
  • Purchased 2018
  • 1065 x 1463mm
  • 2018/002

Neil Pardington photographed this chair in a long-abandoned psychiatric hospital in Porirua while he was looking for locations for a short film. This is one of a number of photographs the artist has taken capturing strange and soulless places in which personal and significant life events are processed. In this image, time stands still and you can sense the institutional boredom, confinement and frustration pressing in. Pardington likened the kōwhaiwhai patterns drawn in marker pen on the chair arms to “a cry for help from within an asylum with no spiritual hope of any kind”. However, they could also be read as a wilful insertion of cultural values and meaning, a defiant visual protest against the banal hospital interior.

(Te Wheke, 2020)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • Now, Then, Next: Time and the Contemporary, 15 June 2019 – 8 March 2020

    Neil Pardington photographed this abandoned chair in the former psychiatric hospital in Porirua, while looking for a location for a film he was planning to make. The image speaks of time slowed and compressed, measured in long hours of boredom and confinement. The person who sat in the chair and drew those patterns is long gone from the room, but their presence somehow remains. The kowhaiwhai patterns “told a story immediately and directly.” To Pardington they suggest “a cry for help from within the asylum with no spiritual hope of any kind.” But looked at another way, perhaps the designs left on the chair’s arms also represent a person taking the time they have available to remake an unsympathetic environment in a more congenial way.