Richard Lewer

Last Will & Testament

Last Will & Testament by Richard Lewer

Artwork Detail

Notarised by witnesses and by Lewer’s lawyer, Last Will & Testament is a public and monumental declaration of the artist’s wishes after his death. As such, the painting is both artwork and legal document. As well as distributing his assets to his wife and godchildren, he specifies the music to be played as his coffin is lowered [Careless Love], his preferred burial site and the type of service that he desires. In doing so, Lewer makes the personal monumental; the taboo [death] public.

Starting with the two words “I am” and written in white paint, the work can be seen as a response to Colin McCahon. Lewer produced his first series of text-based wall paintings during his residency at McCahon House in 2008, gathering material from conversations overheard on the radio, material seen in newspapers, and from local people in his environment. He continued this text-based confessional form of art making in Confessions (2017).

Last Will & Testament
Richard Lewer
Production date
acrylic on pegboard
2400 x 7000 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2020
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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