Tuesday, September 30, 2008
It’s very hard to take a giant 25-metre long purple fibreglass sperm – as in sculpture – seriously. I tried. Truly I did. At least this SCAPE 2008 work by Dutch artist, Joep van Lieshout from the group Atelier van Liershout (that’s him in the top photographs being interviewed by local media) makes a bold and unmissable statement. And I love that there’s something surreal and deliciously irreverent about a giant sperm colonising the ‘sacred’ ground in front of Christchurch Cathedral – especially during the school holidays. Perhaps I have a warped sense of humour but I found it very very funny that Mum’s were sitting on the sperm with their young kids eating picnic lunches. I wonder if they knew what they were actually sitting on. Intriguingly, the sculpture also doubles as an information centre for Scape – complete with attendant and double bed. Van Lieshout has worked with the human body before, creating gigantic body parts or organs, usually big enough to contain some other activity – a bar for instance, an information centre. This work, entitled ‘Darwin,’ encourages us to consider the survival of life and, installed in the so-called heart of Christchurch as it is, it acts as a metaphor for new life and the regeneration of the central city site. Of all the works in Scape thus far, it has certainly – and not surprisingly – created the most media attention. Click on Scape Biennial in the below label line to see other Scape postings. www.scapebiennial.org.nz
Here's another offering - an inkjet print - from one of New Zealand's top printmakers. If you want to see the collection thus far in its witty entirety, click on Cleavin in the label line below.
Mmmmmmmm........another offering from Scape 2008.
This one on the Christchurch Art Gallery forecourt, where Turkish artists Murat and Fuat Sahinler have converted a small grassy hillock into a small amphitheatre in an attempt to slow, if not delay, the passing of foot traffic. Click on Scape Biennial in the label line below to see other Scape postings. www.scapebiennial.org.nz www.chirstchurchartgallery.org.nz
I couldn’t resist taking yet another photograph of ‘Coral/Floral,’ the best selling kitset light designed by Napier’s David Trubridge. This shot was taken in the Christchurch store, Nood (New Objects of Desire). I’ve also photographed it here and if you click on David Trubridge in the label line below you will see it in another guise - along with several other examples of David's sculptural works.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Another in the Series Meet the People – Ordinary and Extraordinary New Zealanders Doing Interesting Things – Photographer Maree Henry has happily settled into life in Lyttelton. What’s more, a year ago she opened a shop with business partner Dave Watchorn, featuring all her favourite things. PORTICO is in Lyttelton’s main street in what was once an old fruit and vegetable store. The cute century-old building is now home to a wide range of (mostly) New Zealand-made goodies – everything from exquisitely made baby and children’s clothes to cushions, jewellery and little luxuries. But Maree, who spent fifteen years working in Christchurch as a photographic printer, still keeps her camera close and unlike most of us, she’s resisted digital technology. “I use it – I have a small digital and I enjoy the editing efficiency it offers but I don’t use it for my artwork.” That artwork is a range of images scanned onto billboard canvases and old truck tarpaulins – an appropriate medium given that many of the images of toys (trucks) that have been scaled up to a huge size. “I like playing with the scale and detail of things and by working with negative rather than digital I get a rendition I’m much happier with.” Maree has a range of her photographic works at the new Christchurch design store F3 which I featured here a few weeks back. To see others in this series, click on Meet the People in the label line below this post.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
As my headline for this post might suggest, I think SCAPE 2008 should rename itself!!!
I'm all for the notion that art should play with our perceptions and expectations, that it should not necessarily be 'handed to us' in a predictable gallery location. I actually LIKE contemporary art that makes you reassess the boundaries of what is and what can be considered art. But if I don't find anything at the end of the hunt - or if what I do find seems sloppy, poorly realised and a little too lean on content, I quickly lose interest. That's been happening a bit too often at this year's Scape Biennial. Yesterday was a case in point - it took me forever to find Ron Terada's "Who Watches the Watchmen" and when I finally glimpsed it I was disappointed (I liked his city version better). Maybe that's because I - and other visitors from Wellington - hadn't been able to find the other Lyttelton work at all. Factor in the mysterious 'non-work' in Cathedral Square and the still unfinished Victoria Square work by Japanese artist Tatzu Oozu (which I have been looking forward to most and have now visited six times in the hope of a final product) and I don't think I'm being picky about my frustrations. I at least live in Christchurch and can revisit the sites to check on progress...but what about out-of-town visitors who came to Christchurch specifically to see the biennial. Is it any wonder some have gone away mumbling unkind things? Click on Scape Biennial in the label line below to see other Scape postings. www.scapebiennial.org.nz
Northland-based jeweller Tatjana Panyoczki grew up in Switzerland but luckily for us she came to New Zealand bringing her talent with her. Trained as a wig designer and make-up artist for theatre and film, Tatjana now produces exquisite minimal jewellery and her latest show, Prototypes, is on show at inform contemporary jewellery in Christchurch for just a few more days. Key elements of Tatyana's work are the repetition of simple forms found in everyday life and the observation of the way things meet and join. How they relate to each other is an important source of her inspiration. The works in Prototype are the result of a 7-month design process.
And here is Tatyana's silver and gold necklace exploring the same inspirations.
Both pieces are made from stirling silver and 18ct yellow gold
Saturday, September 27, 2008
You can always rely on the mad little port town of Lyttelton - just over the hills from Christchurch - to deliver something quirky and interesting. It's a photographer's paradise and even today, with a howling southerly blowing the streets inside out, there was time to stand here and consider my options. The Lyttelton Museum would have won but for the fact it was closed.
Being a bit of a billboard addict, I rather like this SCAPE 2008 work by Maider Lopez of Spain – in fact, she’s one of my favourite artists among the very mixed bag at this year’s event. (If you click on ‘Scape Biennial’ on the label line below this post, you’ll be able to see her other work at Christchurch Art Gallery and a few by other participating artists). For this work she called on members of the public to take part in a photo shoot in Cashel Mall, whereby they were given assorted objects to hold and display while three photographers captured the action. The billboards illustrate the before and after space. www.scapebiennial.org.nz
...............as both a Taurus and a bath addict, this billboard resonates with me more than just a little! It's one of the Vero series that show the bull up to all sorts of tricks all over the city
Friday, September 26, 2008
Another blissfuly sunny day in Christchurch today.
Here's our quaint little tourist tram making a stop in Cathedral Square.
I wonder where all the people went?
Another in the Series Meet the People – Ordinary and Extraordinary New Zealanders Doing Interesting Things – Christchurch’s Nicky Harding-Ifield has small feet and when it comes to buying shoes, they’ve been the bane of her life. Sick of shopping in the children’s section trying to find something for her little Size 3s and after years of frustration at missing out on fashionable footwear, Nicky has finally found the answer. She’s started her own shoe company – Indigo River, which specialises in gorgeous women’s shoes in petite sizes. “I was 28 before I got my first pair of high heels. I found them in England and I was like a kid let loose in a candy store. By the time I came home to New Zealand eight years later, I had acquired a husband, two children and 30 pairs of shoes.” Back in New Zealand though, the ‘shoes blues’ returned. That’s when Nicky had the bright idea of importing shoes that could be relied upon to fit. She ultimately plans to produce her own line of footwear but in the meantime she’s importing the goodies from Spain and Italy and selling them online at http://www.indigoriver.co.nz/ and via direct-to-the-public-sales once a month. So if you’ve got ‘tiny toes’ too, head along to Chateau on the Park in Christchurch on October 19 for the first sale. To see others in the Meet the People Series click on Meet the People in the label line just below.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
We may have to put up with some harsh winters here in Christchurch but when it comes to spring there is no better place to be. I snapped this little study in blossom and magnolia varieties when I was out walking in my neighbourhood last night. It was around 5pm and every garden seemed to be draped in pink and white.
Auckland-based Billy Apple has taken over the front window of Christchurch retail store Ballantynes as part of Scape 2008 and his exhibit is as minimal and as slick as we’ve come to expect of an artist who consistently blurs the lines between art and commercialism/consumerism/capitalism. His two apple sculptures – dots from a distance – are gorgeous on close inspection. The bronze apple was cast in London in 1962 and featured in the first solo show the artist (previously Barrie Bates) staged to launch himself as Billy Apple. The juicy red apple bearing his name (top image) is cast in polyester and replicates the new variety of (real) apples that the artist has been developing since 1999 with HortResearch, pip-fruit breeder Allan White and Saatchi & Saatchi. As a fruit-lover - a fruitaholic in fact - I’d say that’s the ultimate road to immortality and edible art. For other Scape 2008 entries click on Scape in the below label line.
Hark! Has the naughty Marcus Lush been taking the mickey out of our favourite pop artist, Billy Apple? Billy’s apple – as shown, is credited to Hamish McKay Gallery. The green feijoa on the other hand, is listed as being from The Collection of Marcus Lush. Love it! www.radiolive.co.nz
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Brazilian artist, Carmela Gross likes to use fluorescent lights in her work. That pleases me because I'm a fan of the creative potential of any form of lighting. For SCAPE Biennial 2008, Gross has spelled out the words REAL PEOPLE in fluorescent tubes on the Colombo Street overbridge in central Christchurch. It's a shame that the second half of her work - the words ARE DANGEROUS - couldn't be installed on the Kilmore Street overbridge as planned....some silly council regulation intervened I suppose. Read individually the two phrases are tantalisingly vague and non-commital; read as one phrase they're loaded with sinister suggestion. For other Scape entries click on Scape Biennial in the label line below this post. www.scapebiennial.org.nz
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Another in the Series Meet the People – Ordinary and Extraordinary New Zealanders Doing Interesting Things –Elle Walker is a Christchurch-based singer and saxophone player who has become a regular at the The Art Centre markets every weekend. Her laid back approach to blues and contemporary jazz is the perfect addition to the 80-stall market and her mellow tones are popular with nearby café-goers. I’ve taken to going to market most weekends, getting coffee at one of the caravans and just sitting and listening – and watching too of course! As buskers go, she’s one of the best and she’s always got a good stock of her multi-award-winning album “Rose Coloured Glasses,” which features original numbers. It took out several awards in the 1998-99 Australian Songwriters Association National Song Writing Contest. If you want to see others in my Meet the People series, click on Meet the People in the label line just below this post.
Look out Christchurch! The RHB Dance troupe is coming to town – in their leotards! RHB = Real Hot Bitches and these girls are on a mission. They’re out to break a world record – and in those leotards I’m sure they’ll succeed – for the largest synchronized dance routine the world has seen. It’s all part of The Body Festival – this Friday’s opening event in fact. Prancing about with thousands of others to the tune of Bon Jovi’s 1984 hit “Shot Through the Heart,” this mad Wellington trio is likely to give Cathedral Square a total shake-up – and that’s not a bad thing. You don’t have to be a dancer, you don’t need any finesse or skill of any sort to take part – just a bit of courage and a sense of humour. Last year they inspired over 2,000 people to flaunt themselves to Bon Jovi tunes during Wellington’s Cuba Street Carnival. It goes without saying that they’ll be expecting a lot more of Christchurch. Good luck with that girls – tell everyone to wear Canterbury colours and carry a rugby ball and I’m sure you’ll get a great response. Meet in the Square at 5pm Friday 26th for kick-off. I, of course, will be there sans leotard. I’ll be the one with the camera! www.thebody.co.nz www.real-hot-bitches.co.nz
Now this is one SCAPE 2008 work that I LOVE!!!
And this one WAS almost a poetic experience.
Christchurch-based James Oram has sent this life-sized boat 'sky-high.'
It's totally unexpected; it defies all our expectations of what we ought to see on the skyline; and it speaks somehow to ambitious dreams and fantastic childhood imaginings. Factor in a crane and I'm won over! I think it's my favourite Scape work - for others works I've photographed so far, click on 'Scape Biennial' in the below tag line. www.scapebiennial.org.nz
Monday, September 22, 2008
Yes this is art. The top shot shows artist, Paul Johns (in red) getting ready to open his work for SCAPE 2008 in Little Hagley Park. Johns has played with his interest in the connections between music and literary ideas "and the way in which an idea can promote greater awareness of a philosophy through art." He has laid a bronze plaque dedicated to John Lennon entitled "Strawberry Fields", which is surrounded by (a few) struggling strawberry plants. Forget a strawberry FIELD, there's barely enough to be considered a strawberry PATCH. Saturday visitors were invited to join Johns for tea/coffee and strawberry cakes. I didn't stick around to see how many turned up; perhaps the strawberry goodies enticed a few Saturday walkers to stop and wonder about the plaque. For me it was an idea that could have been far better realised...if only in a more generous planting of strawberry plants. It all seemed a tad rushed and 'inadequate' in some way....though the white tent does look pretty in the spring park. Or am I getting off the subject here? www.scapebiennial.org.nz And don't forget to click on Scape Biennial in the tag line below to see other SCAPE postings.
Here's another of the works in the SCAPE 2008 art biennial - one I really had to hunt for. Mind you, it doesn't help if what you think is the west wall of a building is actually the south wall. This is "Who Watches the Watchmen?" by Ron Terada of Canada, who is inspired by the signage and advertising that clutters up our daily lives. According to SCAPE notes this little cluster of words "brings our attention to areas being gentrified while suggesting there are forces at work more powerful that individual designers of urban space." I wonder what all that meant to the three separate couples who wandered around looking for the work and then, unable to spot it, strode off making derisive comments about "modern art." If you want to see other posts I've made about SCAPE, simply click on the word 'Scape' in the index line below this post.
Christchurch Art Gallery, Glucester St. Sept.2008. Ajr I think I want the Christchurch Art Gallery to do something with these two upper-level windows - perfect little peeka-boo locations for something bright and enticing that alludes to interior goings-on. What about an ongoing video playing out some inner activity - someone in the act of conservation perhaps; or some of the staff designing and laying out a current exhibition? Some bright, flashing movement above might divert our attention away from the rather jumbled service and car park entrances below. www.christchurchartgallery.org.nz
Sunday, September 21, 2008
As I've mentioned before, I love photographing churches - not because I'm religious but because I love the grand architectural statements they make. And I've decided Sunday is the perfect day to display some of my 'treasures.' For anyone who has never been to Christchurch, this is what the interior of the famous Christchurch Anglican Cathedral looks like. It's one of the South Island's most visited attractions and if you're dead set on getting a bird's eye view of the city, you can climb the 133 steps up the tower. www.christchurchcathedral.co.nz
Saturday, September 20, 2008
How crazy if this! The Christchurch Art Gallery foyer has suddenly turned into a cycle lane - thanks to the SCAPE 2008 contribution from UK-born Belgium-based artist, Ann Veronica Janssens. Visitors to the gallery are invited to ride her specially designed silver cycles (with, naturally, gleaming silver helmets), through the gallery and out into the street to explore the other biennial art sites. Personally, I think the effects of light and movement to "create poetic experiences for viewers" is stretching the notion of ART just it a bit but I do love the quirkiness of someone cycling through the gallery. It wasn't a poetic experience for me but hey, I could have been holding my mouth the wrong way. http://www.scapebiennial.org.nz/
I am the lucky recipient of some stunning dance photographs - shots taken to promote Body Festival 2008 and although the festival doesn’t actually kick-off until next Friday, September 26th – I can’t wait to use them. So here is something gorgeous to lure you along to the 17-day event here in Christchurch. It’s a shot from “Coming Home,” a choreographed piece from three recent graduates/emerging artists from Christchurch, which will be performed at Hagley Dance Studio on Friday, October 10th
So....... the Christchurch Biennial with the rather long and unwiedy title SCAPE 2008 Wandering Lines: Towards a New Culture of Space is now officially open. The Art Gallery is all dressed up and red and white banners are fluttering all over town. I've already visited a number of the sites (created by 25 artists from 15 countries). Most were still under construction but nothing is really SINGING OUT to me yet. I'm reserving judgement though. In all fairness, a work does need to be finished before it can be fully considered. That said, I did swing by the rather ugly work at the Arts Centre late yesterday - by Tea Makipaa of Finland. Her 'Petrol Engine Memorial Park' looked anything but sophisticated and interesting. I took photos. They were ugly too. I don't want to show them. www.scapebiennial.org.nz www.christchurchartgallery.org.nz
These four beauties are the latest additions to my collection of mannequin photos - snapped on the sly in a Christchurch antique store.
Friday, September 19, 2008
A tiny photo of the very gorgeous
Treetops Lodge & Estate
Nestled into a native bush reserve on the outskirts of Rotorua.
The perfect perfect hideaway.
Cathedral Square, Christchurch. Sept.2008. Ajr
If you click on the word 'Cranes' in the tag line below
You'll see I have a bit of a thing for cranes.
I can't explain it. I'm not, after all, a technical/mechanical girl.
I think it's more to do with their visual impact in an empty sky.
In this case, it's about the juxtaposition of mechanics and religion.
And how busy are we here in Christchurch - we have three cranes working in the city at once!
It's been a while - too long in fact - since I added to my Collectors Series. The reason for that is? Oops! I tripped and stumbled on to another collection of my own! But more on that another time. Here, meanwhile, is a terrific collection of tea cosies and other knitted novelties that I spied at the marvellous Christchurch second-hand store, Retropolitan (great name too) in Kilmore Street. I wonder what motivates we collectors? If anyone has a brilliant theory I want to hear about it so leave a comment. And if you want to see others in this series, click on 'collectors' in the below tagline, or put it in the search box above left.