Jim Allen


O-AR II by Jim Allen

Artwork Detail

Jim Allen’s work O-AR II, 1975, for the Auckland City Art Gallery’s Project Programme No. 4, was the last work he would exhibit in New Zealand before departing to Australia. His work would not be shown here again until his return in 1992. O-AR II is an important work for a number of reasons. The years 1974–75 had been incredibly busy for Allen on multiple fronts – teaching, resourcing exhibitions, cultivating opportunities for new sculptural practices and also making large-scale changes in his own work. O-AR was the first work to follow Contact, 1974 and was a meditation on perception. It was intended from the outset as a two-part work, for two venues and in two very different contexts.

The first part, O-AR 1, was staged at the vanguard commercial art dealer Barry Lett Galleries in Auckland. There, two very different materials were laid on the floor: an assemblage of branches and an assemblage of pre-formed steel parts. On the walls fragments of language and drawings were hung, forcing the viewer to link disparate and sometimes oppositional phrases, testing the limits of their curiosity and interpretative impulse. The second part, at Auckland City Art Gallery, which you see in a contemporary revision here, involved the hanging of two long sheets of industrial plastic – one clear and one black – from the ceiling. The movement of visitors rippled and pushed against the materials, incorporating their presence into the work and creating a highly tactile encounter.

Jim Allen
Production date
black and clear agricultural plastic
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the artist, 2021
Accession no
Other ID
X2018/104/5 Former Exhibition Number
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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