The Living Work of Art

17 September – 25 September 1995

During the Christchurch festival celebrating the twenty-first anniversary of the Wizard's arrival in the city, a special gallery exhibition is planned to explore his identity as 'a living work of art'.

This will take the form of a retrospective display commemorating the 'living work of art' concept. The idea had complex origins beginning in Melbourne between 1971 and 1974.There it culminated in the Wizard donating his body to the National Gallery of Victoria and its acceptance by the Director and Board of Governors. However the 'living work of art' concept was slow following the Wizard as he shifted to Christchurch in 1974.

It was finally acknowledged in 1979 when the Director of the Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Dr Rodney Wilson arranged with the approval of the Christchurch City Council, a transfer of the work on loan to the city.

What we will be showing in the Gallery in September is a collection of commissioned works, documentation and visual memorabilia selected to highlight the origins, progress and attempts to gain acceptance of the concept in Christchurch. As a Living Work of Art there cannot be anything fixed and static. Things are ever-changing as will be revealed at the exhibition opening. The opening will also involve a performance piece which focuses on the living aspect of the art work and its emergence from the conceptual into the real - into a new state of being.

Concurrent with the exhibition there will also be a series of lectures in the city from the staff of the University of Canterbury, School of Fine Arts.

From a preconstructed, symbolic nest the Living Work of Art will be physically launched into flight as a preparation for future developments in the wider world. A fitting final act to the festival week.

('The Living Work of Art', Bulletin, No.97, August/September 1995, p.3)