That, That Was and Wasn’t
– Second Story Gallery
Friday, unplanned, I went to an exhibition which was happily one doorway over from my studio in The Second Story Gallery, and spoke to the artists about their use of the gallery space and about how many artists have a studio on or close to Krd. Whether or not there is the potential for some kind of meeting place for those artists. Like a coffee morning for the neighborhood artists, or is there one already that I don’t know about? It sounds like a good thing to be involved in despite realising that the fumes from the nail clinic beneath my tiny studio are responsible for the recurring headaches I have been experiencing, so I may have to vacate the K rd premises when the winter weather forces me to work with the window closed.
The artists showing were: Cathy Carter, Deborah Rundle, Denise Batchelor, Margaret Estall and Vivienne Worn.
I have to admit, although I enjoyed the works separately and found their textures, movements or forms intriguing I couldn’t seem to find an overarching theme or conversation for the very short lived ( 2 days!) show. I enjoyed the eclecticism, the mix of painting, video, word art written in light and bio-sculpture, however I would have liked to be able to understand some connecting thread. My own fault for not asking while I had the chance I suppose, but I tend to like to be able to pick it up with my own intuitions or take away some reading material or a link to where I can read and understand it better later, I can be a bit of a slow burner that way.
The highlight for me was seeing some of the film works by Denise Batchelor, the abstracted videos of mundane events captured my attention, making me look at ordinary things with new eyes.
Sunday, I made it out to see Santiago Sierra’s Broken Word. I had been meaning to get out to see this since I heard it was coming and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. I had been reading about it in the Autumn edition of Art News New Zealand so I knew what to expect but I was still spellbound at the spectacle and was entranced for the whole 20+ minute loop.
Watching the industrious people, animals and machinery destroy what they had built, all unaware of what each other was doing, and in the dark as to what will be spelled out from their labour was a clear and clever way to talk about the costs and gains of capitalism on a local and a global scale.
I particularly found myself attracted to the entry from Papua New Guinea, the long arduous exhausting process of cutting down the freshly carved ‘I’ pillar with a simple axe was mesmerizing. More so perhaps than the letters where it was harder to see a physical human struggle, perhaps masked by the use of machinery.
The other entry which reinforced this for me was the aluminum ‘L’ dismantled by firemen wielding the jaws of life. The group of uniform encumbered men who worked together to break the solid form were then celebrated by their audience applauding from the balcony above, much like the felled ‘I’ was swarmed with celebrating local children once the column had been tumbled.
While watching the letters and therefore the Kapitalism fall under the industrious hands of the participants I felt a sense of accomplishment or triumph, watching Kapitalism destroy itself through it’s own actions but left with a sense of achievement as the locals celebrated the downfall of their respective elements.