Sculptural surprises and architectural double-takes by renowned contemporary artists. De-Building is inspired by a moment usually hidden from viewers – when an exhibition ends and the 'de-build' begins. View it online
De-building opened on 5 February 2011 and was scheduled to run till 15 May 2011. Unfortunately the earthquake on 22 February intervened and the Gallery has remained closed since that date. We regret that this exhibition has itself now been de-built and will not re-open. However a number of these works will be shown again, within the 'Brought to Light' exhibition, when the Christchurch Art Gallery re-opens.
In the meantime you can still take a look at the works that were in the show, with their original wall labels - or buy the book.
An exhibition inspired by a moment usually hidden from gallery-goers – when the show ends, the doors close and the 'de-build' begins.
Brought together from New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the United States, the artists in this exhibition examine every aspect of the de-building process – from the crates art is stored in, to the paint on the walls.
Full of sculptural surprises and architectural double-takes, and including major new installations by Fiona Connor, Callum Morton and Peter Robinson, De-Building makes the gallery itself part of the art.
The artists included are:
Billy Apple, Monica Bonvicini, Eddie Clemens, Susan Collis, Fiona Connor, Glen Hayward, Pierre Huyghe, Liz Larner, Gordon Matta-Clark, Callum Morton, Peter Robinson, Kay Rosen, Santiago Sierra and Rachel Whiteread.
Exhibition number 863
Here are the people and there is the steeple
A big bright mural inspired by the challenges of rebuilding a city. Kay Rosen turns the word 'people' into the foundation for an unexpected 'steeple'.
For many passers-by, Christchurch art Gallery is identified by its dramatic glass façade—the public face it presents to the world. but De-Building is an exhibition that offers a very different view. bringing together the work of fourteen artists from new Zealand and farther afield, this group exhibition draws inspiration from the working spaces gallery-goers seldom see: the workshops, loading bays and back corridors; the scruffy, half-defined zones.
Along with Fiona Connor’s major installation and Billy Apple’s 'Censure Realised', Rachel Whiteread’s 'Untitled' is one of a cluster of architecturally themed works purchased recently for Christchurch Art Gallery’s collection. Though Whiteread works more often with domestic than gallery spaces, she appears in De-Building as the influential creator of a peculiarly haunting kind of architectural sculpture – plaster casts of rooms and spaces through which people once moved. (De-Building, February 2011)
For those of you who got to see the De-Building exhibition way back in 2011, for the few weeks it was on display before the earthquakes, you may remember a wonderful piece by Pierre Huyghe, in which concentric rings revealed various layers of paint below the walls surface, a kind of archaelogical exploration of the gallery's exhibition history.
They call it the 'yellow volkswagen effect': once you see one, you see them everywhere. It's been a little like that for me following Justin Paton's short-lived, terrific and – it turns out – strangely prescient exhibition De-Building, which opened to great acclaim on 5 February and closed forever on 22 February, for obvious, afore-mentioned reasons.
Cycling into work along Ferry Road each morning I pass one of those new ads perkily announcing that 'The Christchurch We Love is Still Here'. And each morning I imagine getting off the bike and performing a firm correction. Something along the lines of, 'The Christchurch we love is still here, but some very big bits of it are being knocked down.'
We had three great exhibitions on display in February. De-Building, Van der Velden: Otira and Leo Bensemann: A Fantastic Art Venture all opened within three weeks of the earthquake, and all three had their runs cut very short.
The show's only been open a matter of weeks but plans to 'de-build' De-Building are already well underway.
A few weeks ago the staff here dealt with the biggest art crate they'd ever handled, for Ron Mueck's huge sculpture A girl.
The view from inside the walls in the De-Building spaces, with holes cut and waiting for the arrival of Fiona Connor's installation of facsimile domestic windows, What you bring with you to work.
Our internal De-Building billboard goes up, with some finishing touches from the Stanley knife.
Shannon Te Ao: Tēnei Ao Kawa Nei
Tenderness and human longing are revealed in Shannon Te Ao’s award-winning video installations.
Francis Upritchard: Jealous Saboteurs
Exquisitely imagined, startlingly strange works by an internationally acclaimed New Zealand artist.
Joyce Campbell: Flightdream
Joyce Campbell’s immersive video work takes the viewer on a journey into the ocean’s fathomless depths, exploring processes of creation and annihilation.
The Lines That Are Left
Of landscape itself as artefact and artifice; as the ground for the inscribing hand of culture and technology; as no clean slate.
— Joanna Paul
The residential Red Zone is mostly green. After each house is demolished, contractors sweep up what is left, cover the section with a layer of soil and plant grass seed. Almost overnight, driveway, yard, porch, garage, shed and house become a little paddock; the border of plants and trees outlining it the only remaining sign that there was once a house there.
Today is the fifth anniversary of the February earthquake of 2011 which devastated Christchurch. During that time, we and our city have been through so many different phases.
Aaron Kreisler is Head of the School of Fine Art at the University of Canterbury. He talked to Bulletin about challenges and opportunities for the arts in our city and what art can contribute to the future of Christchurch.
Sparks that fly upwards
Curator Felicity Milburn remembers five years and 101 installations in a gallery without walls.
Everything is going to be alright
The cover of Bulletin 181 in September 2015 featured a miscellany of crates in storage, several marked fragile, one weighing 156kg, some with arrows indicating which way up they should be, others instructing the reopener to lay it flat first. Some bear an image of what’s inside. Ralph Hotere’s Malady Panels and Julia Morison’s Tootoo are there, one with a label, the other with an image of the installed piece. As I write this our collections remain in storage. A few new works and some which have been on loan are awaiting return from storage within other institutions.
Regional revitalization with art
Rei Maeda, coordinator of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, writes on art’s contribution to the regeneration of a remote rural area of Japan.
Martin Trusttum, project manager for Ōtākaro Art by the River, and founder of temporary gallery space ArtBox, writes on the role of art in Christchurch.
A technology that allows a building to effectively 'float' on its foundations during an earthquake is about to be applied to the Gallery.
Curator Ken Hall writes about his experience of working with artists Chris Heaphy and Sara Hughes, as part of a small team with other city council staff and Ngāi Tahu arts advisors, on the Transitional Cathedral Square artist project.
The idea of peppering the vestigial city centre with portraits from the collection became part of the Gallery's tenth birthday POPULATE! programme, intended to remind all of us that the collection is, indeed, still here and in good shape.
The latest issue of Photoforum's MoMento journal (issue 14, January 2014) focuses on the work of three photographers with strong ties to Christchurch and their haunting images of this battered city post February 22, 2011.
Street urchins, blue moons and rare visions
Even in a city where surreal scenes have become somewhat routine, the sight of the Isaac Theatre Royal's eight-tonne dome, suspended like a great alien craft, had the power to turn heads and drop jaws. Preserved inside a strange white shroud while the theatre was slowly deconstructed around it was a jewel of Christchurch's decorative arts heritage – a 105 year-old Italianate plaster ceiling featuring a circular painted reverie on the theme of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The dome, along with the rest of the theatre, is currently being restored as part of an ambitious rebuild that is expected to be completed in 2015 at a cost of over $30 million.
The fault is ours: Joseph Becker on Lebbeus Woods
There was a packed auditorium at CPIT in Christchurch this August when visiting San Francisco Museum of Modern Art curator Joseph Becker delivered a lecture on architect Lebbeus Woods. And it wasn't hard to guess why. In addition to many other achievements, Woods is renowned for his highly speculative project, Inhabiting the Quake. Senior curator Justin Paton spoke to Becker about Lebbeus Woods, and what Christchurch might learn from him.
Yvonne Todd: The Wall of Man
A collection of apparently straightforward corporate photographic portraits, the type usually seen in company boardrooms or annual reports, becomes increasingly puzzling in its intent.
Repair work has started on Christchurch Art Gallery, with the re-levelling tender that will relieve stress in the building's foundations having been awarded.
With the removal of the final cordon around the red zone in the central city last weekend, I came in with my family to have a look around the newly reopened areas of the CBD. We stopped to watch the parade of soldiers who were being thanked by the Prime Minister, the Mayor of Christchurch and Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu for their work in controlling the central city red zone and with community welfare in the immediate aftermath of the February earthquake.
Christchurch Art Gallery is ten: highs and lows
In recognition of the anniversary of the move of Christchurch's public art gallery from its former existence as the Robert McDougall in the Botanic Gardens to its new more central city location (now eerily empty), I've been asked by Bulletin's editor to recall some highs and lows of the last ten years. So here goes — and stay with me during this reflection, which takes the place of my usual foreword.
Gregor Kregar: Reflective Lullaby
Justin Paton: As everyone who has seen your works at Christchurch Airport will know, you often make big sculptures with a geometric quality. Gnomes, however large, aren't the first things viewers might expect you to be interested in. What's the appeal of these figures for you?
Gregor Kregar: I'm interested reinterpreting mundane objects, shapes, situations or materials. In my large geometric works I do this by creating complex structures out of basic shapes—triangles, squares, pentagons and hexagons. And with the gnomes I am interested in how something that is usually made out of plastic or concrete and is associated with a low, kitsch aesthetic can be transformed into an arresting monumental sculpture.
It’s our party and we’ll cry if we want to
On 10 May 2013, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū turns ten. Which is fantastic. But it's probably fair to say that there's a bittersweet quality to the celebrations around this particular anniversary, as it also marks two years and eleven weeks of closure for the Gallery, and catches us staring down the barrel of another two years without our home.
It's frustrating. And then some.
However, we're not going to let these little, ahem, inconveniences get in the way of our party. Populate! is our birthday programme, and it's our attempt to bring some unexpected faces and figures back to the depleted central city. Bulletin spoke to the Gallery's senior curator Justin Paton about what he really wants for the tenth birthday, what he finds funny, and what he really doesn't.
Ronnie van Hout: Comin’ Down
Ronnie van Hout's mysterious sculptural figure stands on the roof of 209 Tuam Street and points skyward. Something is 'comin' down' here, but what?
English artist Sarah Lucas was installing her show in Two Rooms, Auckland, when the 22 February earthquake struck.
Lunchtime on a shining summer's day and you head for the ruin of Christchurch Cathedral. If you get there by twelve you can usually nab one of the bench seats along the back wall, where sun buckets down through the long-gone roof and warms the stonework behind you.
We recently received this generous gift - from one quakeprone country to another
A Dark and Empty Interior
In B.167 senior curator Justin Paton documented his walk around the perimeter of Christchurch's red zone, and we featured the empty Rolleston plinth outside Canterbury Museum at the end of Worcester Boulevard. In this edition, director Jenny Harper interviews English sculptor Antony Gormley, who successfully animated another vacant central-city plinth—the so-called Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London. Gormley filled the plinth with 2,400 people, who occupied it for one hour each, night and day, for 100 days. Here, Jenny asks him about his practice, the value of the figurative tradition and whether he has any advice for Christchurch.
Laying out Foundations
Looking broadly at the topic of local architectural heritage, Reconstruction: conversations on a city had been scheduled to open at the Gallery but will now instead show on outdoor exhibition panels along Worcester Boulevard from 23 June. Supplementing works from the collection with digital images from other collections, curator Ken Hall brings together an arresting art historical tour of the city and its environs.
Cities of Remembrance
Nothing was more fascinating than ruins to me when I was growing up in one of the newest parts of the New World—new, anyway, to extensive buildings and their various forms of lingering collapse and remnant. The native people of California had mostly built ephemeral structures that were readily and regularly replaced and left few traces. Anything old, anything that promised to reach into the past, was magical for me; ruins doubly so for the usual aura of romance and loss that, like death, is most alluring to the young who have not seen much of it yet.
The possibilities for a city in transition will be considered in Re:actions for the city – a new series of public events that we are launching.
Well before the earthquakes, Christchurch had a reputation as a tough town for public art. The city's public spaces are haunted by the ghosts of several major sculptures that never made it to completion. And several local sculptors still carry some psychological scar tissue from their forays into the public realm.
Here and Gone
In the last issue of Bulletin, senior curator Justin Paton wrote about the way the Christchurch earthquakes 'gazumped' the exhibitions on display at the Gallery – overshadowing them and shifting their meanings. In this issue, with the Gallery still closed to the public, he considers the place of art in the wider post-quake city – and discovers a monument in an unlikely place.
Sydenham-based photographer Doc Ross and his camera have been investigating the Christchurch urban environment for the past 14 years.
Reconstruction: Conversations on a City
In acknowledging architectural heritage loss in this city's present and past, this visually rich outdoor exhibition unfolds the ways in which dreams and values have been given form in our built environment.
et al. That's obvious! That's right! That's true!
The collective et al. has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally and its work for Christchurch Art Gallery will continue a process of exploring aspects of super-fiction as conceptual and visual artworks.
Reboot: The Jim Barr and Mary Barr Collection
An energetic multimedia exhibition of contemporary art from the Jim Barr and Mary Barr Collection, showcasing acclaimed young New Zealand artists alongside international luminaries. A Dunedin Public Art Gallery Touring Exhibition