Richard Reddaway

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1962

Barrel Vault

  • 1988
  • Photomontage on aluminium
  • Purchased 1990
  • 870 x 3415mm
  • 90/29.1-8

A barrel vault is a structure associated with classical architecture, which reflected a belief system prioritising order and symmetry. Here, Richard Reddaway recreates it through a repeating photomontage of his own body. “I am seeking to portray the mutual relationships between individuals, the working system that makes up our society”, he said. “The individual does not live alone, but in relation to others. Everything is part of something else.”

Systems like this can also have a darker side. They suppress difference in favour of unity – individuals are most valuable when they strengthen the whole. Fascist governments in Italy and Germany embraced the idealised imagery of classical art and architecture as a way to control their people. Richard’s work leaves us with a challenge: how to contribute to society, without losing ourselves.

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

Exhibition History