Nova Paul

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1973
Ngāpuhi, Te Uriroroi, Te Parawhau, Te Māhurehure ki Whatitiri, Māori

Still Light

  • 2015
  • 16mm film transferred to digital video, colour, sound, duration 6 min 35 sec
  • Purchased 2020
  • 2020/039

Commissioned as a response to an untitled poem by artist Joanna Margaret Paul, Nova Paul’s Still Light is a reflection on the domestic and intimate. Shot in 16mm film, the camera traces around objects and follows light shifting across domestic surfaces, creating fluctuations in colour and flickering shadow. A fittingly tender soundtrack is provided by Nova’s friend and sometime collaborator Bic Runga.

The room is close with mystery this morning heavy green folds of velvet curtain are patterned with light the sky breaks in panes of almost blue & casts a white mirage upon the ceiling mirror filled with things the white dove-cote outhouse received from another window with its dark apertures a mound of sunlit ivy a light blue room caught, held in the round lid of some vessel open on the dressing table. Or so the room seems to be heavy & punctuated with mystery in the early stillness & I would drift out & put on the room, the day a close & heavy garment for my pregnancy, but the obdurate shape by my side prevents my peaceful mingling with the folded curtain & the light the mirror the window the pale day… Excerpt from untitled poem by Joanna Margaret Paul Like Love Poems: Selected Poems, Victoria University Press, 2006

(Perilous: Unheard Stories from the Collection, 6 August 2022- )

Watch the complete film

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • Commissioned as a response to an untitled poem from the collection "Like Love Poems" by artist Joanna Margaret Paul, Nova Paul’s "Still Light" is a beautiful reflection on the domestic and intimate. Shot in 16mm film, the camera traces around objects and watches light shift across the surfaces, creating fluctuations in colour and flickering shadow. A fittingly tender soundtrack is provided by Nova's friend and sometime collaborator Bic Runga.

    The room is close with mystery

    this morning

    heavy green folds of velvet curtain

    are patterned with light

    the sky breaks in panes of almost blue

    & casts a white mirage upon the

    ceiling

    mirror filled with things

    the white dove-cote outhouse

    received from another window

    with its dark apertures

    a mound of sunlit ivy

    a light blue room

    caught, held in the

    round lid of some vessel

    open on the dressing table.

    Or so the room seems to be

    heavy & punctuated with mystery

    in the early stillness & I would

    drift out & put on the room, the day

    a close & heavy garment

    for my pregnancy,

    but the obdurate shape by my side

    prevents my peaceful

    mingling with the folded curtain & the light

    the mirror the window the pale day…

    Extract from an untitled poem, published in Joanna Margaret Paul, "Like Love Poems: Selected Poems" (edited by Bernadette Hall, Victoria University Press, 2006, pp.30–31).

    Online Spheres, 2020