Laurence Aberhart on Bill Hammond
Meet at the front desk
Join Laurence Aberhart, photographer and long-time friend of Bill Hammond, in the exhibition Bill Hammond: Playing the Drums. Debunk some myths and make some new ones.
This exhibition gathers together works of very different scales – some seldom exhibited before – from across Hammond's body of work. Meet at the front desk, dive into some live art history and join in on the discussion.
Related reading: Free event
19 January 2020
A selection of work by Aotearoa New Zealand's favourite painter/drummer
Many locals fondly remember this painting hanging on the wall of the Lava Bar in the port town of Lyttelton throughout the 1990s and 2000s. The Lava Bar was one of Bill’s favourite haunts – he very occasionally played there in a band with no name. He swapped this painting to cover costs for a bar tab, and it quickly became part of the fabric of the place. Sadly, the Lava Bar was damaged in the earthquakes of 2010/11 and demolished shortly afterwards. Defiantly lowbrow in the Christchurch gothic tradition, Volcano Flag incorporates tattoo designs, a dancing skeleton playing a guitar, a mountain blowing smoke rings and a bird with a human skull for a head. It’s a painting that references the history of the local landscape: Whakaraupō (Lyttelton harbour), where the artist has lived and worked since the early 1970s, is the caldera of an ancient extinct volcano. Bill Hammond: Playing the Drums (3 August 2019 – 19 January 2020)
Turning a traditional depiction of the New Zealand landscape upside down, this vertical triptych presents a zigzagging arrangement of curtains that fall from the sky and splice the terrain, of mountainous divides that appear upon tables and strange creatures that morph and writhe.
Early works by Bill Hammond are awash with visual sampling, splicing and mixing – from popular culture and art history. Comic book narration, the oblique angles and frames of 1950s film noir and, notably, the multiple vanishing points found in the proto-surrealist paintings of Giorgio De Chirico (1888–1978), give structure to Hammond’s alternative cityscapes of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Hammond was born in Christchurch and studied at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts. For a period after leaving art school he designed and manufactured wooden toys. He held his first solo exhibition in 1976 and since then has exhibited regularly. His work is represented in private and public collections throughout New Zealand. Bill Hammond: Jingle Jangle Morning (20 July – 22 October 2007) is the most recent survey of Hammond’s work to date, organised by Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu.
In 1989 Bill and several other New Zealand artists travelled to the remote sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands, a trip that was to have a profound effect on his art. Here, he encountered what he called “paradise for birds”, a place he imagined Aotearoa was like before humans arrived. In his words: [In the Auckland Islands] I saw a New Zealand before there were men and women and dogs and possums. You could see what New Zealand was like, a land of birds. In the Auckland Islands you can stand by 20,000 birds and they don’t take fright, they think they are hallucinating … you can pass by hundreds of yellow-eyed penguins staring out at the horizon in a Zen-like trance. We’d become freakish apparitions. …You feel like a time traveller … as if you have just stumbled upon it – primeval forests, rātās like Walt Disney would make. It’s a beautiful place, but it’s also full of ghosts, shipwrecks, death.
Bill Hammond: Playing the Drums (3 August 2019 – 19 January 2020)
Doctor Jazz Stomp and the Webb Lane Sound
“Bill Hammond is long, lithe and tired, and was born several years ago. Is currently pursuing a Fine Arts course and trying hard to catch up. He is deeply interested in the aesthetic implications of sleep, sports the Rat-Chewed Look in coiffures for ’68, and dreams about blind mice in bikinis. He has never been known to sing outside the confines of his bedroom. Shows a marked but languid preference for the subtle textural nuances and dynamic shadings of washboard, cowbell, woodblocks, claves, cymbal, spoons, thimbles, tambourine, and the palms of the hands in percussive contact.”
Join volunteer guide Margaret Nicholas as she discusses Roy Cowan's Large Sculptural Form in Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania on the first floor.
Join independent curator and writer Stephanie Oberg as she discusses Lonnie Hutchinson's Sista7 in Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania on the first floor.
Join volunteer guide Lis Hunter as she discusses Russell Clark's Untitled [T & G Mural] in Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania on the first floor.
Join volunteer guide Sarah Bourke as she discusses Grace Ngaputa Pera's tivaevae manu in Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania on the first floor.
Join vistor host Karin Bathgate as she discusses John Henry Menzies' Stanford Family Pātaka Cabinet in Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania on the first floor.
Join volunteer guide Sara Newman as she discusses Ruth Watson's Take heart in Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania on the first floor.
The Embassy of Japan in New Zealand presents this screening in collaboration with the Canterbury Film Society as part of a series of fascinating films in 2020. This Academy Award-winning masterpiece from the anime maestro Miyazaki is an enchanting magical tale for all ages.
The Embassy of Japan in New Zealand presents this screening as part of a series of fascinating films in 2020. This movie shows life’s lessons through tea, and is based on a book by Noriko Morishita.
The Embassy of Japan in New Zealand presents this screening as part of a series of fascinating films in 2020. An animated feature film based on a manga series that has sold over 130 million copies.
Join curator Melanie Oliver and Ōtautahi Christchurch-based artists Conor Clarke (Ngāi Tahu), Emma Fitts and Oliver Perkins for a floortalk and conversation about their projects in the exhibition Touching Sight.
Muka Prints make contemporary art accessible by compiling original lithographs from international artists, covering the artists’ names, and letting young people see which works speak to them.
The Embassy of Japan in New Zealand presents this screening as part of the Japanese Film Festival’s fascinating 2020 season.
The Embassy of Japan in New Zealand presents this screening as part of the Japanese Film Festival’s fascinating 2020 season. A drama inspired by the beloved non-fiction book Mie the Stray: A Story of Community Cats and Shopping Street Revitalization.
A new annual lecture established in the memory of art historian and long-term supporter and patron of the Friends of Christchurch Art Gallery Julie King. Presented by the Friends of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū.
Join artists Judy Darragh and Sean Kerr in conversation about their project In Kahoots, a real-time 3D art work.
Much-loved Auckland-based Cloud Workshop has been working with bereaved young people, making art together, for fifteen years.
The Big Draw Festival is a worldwide celebration of drawing, which this year has a green focus.
Unfortunately due to social distancing requirements at Level 2 we have had to cancel this session. Hopefully we will see you at our next session on Thursday 5 November!
Take a free guided tour of our current exhibitions with one of our friendly, knowledgeable guides.
This year’s weekly ArtBite programme is about to start! From Friday 10 February, we will again offer a weekly presentation of a work on display here at Te Puna o Waiwhetū. The aim of these 30-minute talks is to give you an art break in the middle of your day. We know you’re busy, so this isn’t a long lecture meant to take up too much of your time. And they’re free. With a new work presented each Friday at 12.30pm, the information will be fresh so you can impress your friends during your weekend socialising.
Take a free guided tour of our exhibition highlights with one of our friendly, knowledgeable guides.
Please note: 2pm tours on Wednesdays and weekends in July and August are Louise Henderson: From Life feature tours.