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  • Writer's pictureSuzy Costello, workbooks

Exhibition, Week 6 23-27 Aug 2020

Lecture from Simon Morris and Rachael Rakena, group discussion with Kingsley Baird, and decision to produce material showing our artmaking processes for an online exhibition if necessary.


Simon presented exhibitions that use site provocatively i.e. where it challenges the idea of concept, materials, history or conventions. He suggested selecting a site and space "can expand your work to suit the space" but that if we choose to use a white space, he recommended naming the physical characteristics we might use e.g. light, shape, material quality of space, entrance, exit, thickness of walls, negative space.

These are some of the exhibitions he discussed -

i) Yellow Ochre Room by Simon Morris, 2015-7 This was Simon's gift to welcome Christchurch residents back to their gallery following the 2010 earthquake that demolished their city. He offered them a painted room with "space and time for contemplation." The 52-metre long wall painting was made by pouring saturated and diluted yellow ochre (from full colour to almost no colour) on the gallery walls in a manner that responded to the architectural features of the site.

ii) Allotted Breaks, by Public Share 2014 This is a socially engaged artwork by the New Zealand artist collective Public Share who reference object making to site and then "engage in ideas of sharing, production and exchange". Allotted Breaks, "involved the making of a morning tea, held on 29 October 2014, for the Fulton Hogan workers at the SH16 Northwestern motorway construction site in Te Atatu and the production of mugs from the same clay for the 60 workers." (all photos from Public Share website)

What a thoughtful and thought-provoking exhibition that explores -

  • where is the art in this project

  • the connection of the site (clay) to the exhibition

  • taking the gallery to an audience on the site and out of the white cube

  • discussion of ceramics

  • on-going timeframe by leaving cups in staffroom

Simon selected this exhibition at Toi o Tāmaki because of the creativity employed to recreate Hodgkin's workshops during her time in Europe and North Africia by building replica miniature models.

Dashper, a NZ artist, explores the conventions of how art is made, including the process of exhibiting e.g. Hotel Winston which was an exhibition in his hotel room in Amsterdam!, and Artfrom, an advertisement published by the artist in Artforum International (January 1992).


Rachael discussed how we might include Tikanga maori in our exhibition -

  1. Inclusion of a taonga i.e. using something very old, passed down or a stone that holds mauri (Taonga Tuku Iho or heritage treasures) e.g. HERE: Kupe to Cook (a place to bind your waka) at Pataka 2019 used "Maungaroa, the punga (anchor stone) discovered in Porirua harbour and thought to be from Kupe’s waka. It’s our earliest taonga and a tangible link to the explorer’s connection to the region."

  2. Powhiri layout or wharenui e.g. Sandy Adsett using the wero (challenge), and kuranga to call people in.

  3. Consultative practices with local iwi and appropriate people

  4. Opening ceremonies to include karakia and blessings, whai korero/speeches, manaakitanga - food and kai, tapu - bowl of water, kawakawa leaves

Some wonderful ideas discussed that would be good to include in our exhibition e.g. asking Anton if there is a taonga associated with the observatory that could be used to anchor the site.


Another great discussion with Kingsley that covered issues and ideas for going forward

  1. Visiting site - think about the space and how it will work. Recommended we go as a group to share our ideas and record the site using photos (people in to get idea of scale) and floor plans. Suggested we reconnoiter to discuss and then visit the site again to see it anew.

  2. Publications and brochures - consider our theme of nature and small footprint, use of online advertising and making something beautiful and engaging e.g. Victoria's bags

  3. Online exhibition in case we don't get a site or Covid levels change. Suggested you tube or website so need to research designs, publications, interviewing techniques and artist videos. Exhibition not limited to own work, could use other nature based websites and performative art as an interview element

  4. Artist statements relate to interviews and online publications

  5. Art installation - keep doing it and try out different arrangements. Happy to give feedback

  6. Time limitiations - plan according to time available and work with a contingency. Avoid huge labour but focus on high degree of conceptual (eg nature, communicating nature) Discussed location - moods of nature, Botanical Gardens and its colonial story

  7. REVISIT BRIEF and tick things off!!

  8. Opening ceremony kicks things off, marking time open/end and affects audience experience

  9. Plan B - artist videos and website


We met during the mid-term break to do our interviews and develop material for our online presence. We located ourselves in our studios so we could record ourselves making our art while answering questions from a list that Breena had complied. It was an intimate experience, both to share as a team as well as ultimately online, because the questions asked required thoughtful replies and a willingness to share what our artmaking meant to us. Victoria and Darnah have edited the videos and these will be used for social media releases.


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