Tim J. Veling

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1980

Halley Place, Avonside, 2015, Spring, During a Nor-west Wind

  • Purchased 2018
  • Archival pigment print on gloss baryta paper
  • 604 x 504mm
  • 2018/029
  • 2015
  • View on google maps

Tim Veling’s photographs document the passing of time in what used to be Christchurch’s riverside suburbs, the red zone. Cleared of houses and people, the area is being gradually overtaken by nature. In Veling’s photographs, days pass, nights fall, the seasons come and go. But traces of human occupation remain as vestiges of a way of life. Veling documents the landscape at a time when the former use of the land is still – just – visible, but before its future use has yet been established. It is a political no-man’s-land, waiting for a solution. Meanwhile nature proceeds to claim the land back at its own pace. Veling’s vision is of the suburban landscape as a romantic ruin, perhaps in the tradition of eighteenth-century landscape painters making the Grand Tour; rather than gazing on fragments of classical statuary and architecture, visitors to Christchurch’s river suburbs encounter overgrown garden boundaries and hurricane fencing. It might be more accurate to say that Veling photographs post-quake Christchurch as an unromantic ruin – a place as much subject to political machinations as to natural forces.

(Now, Then, Next: Time and the Contemporary, 15 June 2019 – 8 March 2020)