Auckland Art Gallery presents Civilisation, Photography, Now 
A photographic portrait of 21st-century life

Major international photography exhibition opens at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki on Saturday 4 April.

Civilisation, Photography, Now explores our hyper-connected, 21st-century lives through over 200 original photographs by 103 contemporary artists from across Europe, Asia, America, Australia and New Zealand.

Together, photographers create a multifaceted portrait of our time. They are everywhere on the globe – in every country and in every city – observing, recording and interpreting the way we live now.

Examining contemporary life, from the way we produce and consume to the way we work and play, travel and inhabit, think and create, collaborate and clash, Civilisation, Photography, Now reveals not only the complexities of human existence, but also the possibilities beyond the world we currently encounter.

Kirsten Paisley, Director, Auckland Art Gallery, says: ‘Civilisation, Photography, Now presents a collection of images by the world’s best photographers, photojournalists and digital image-makers. Through the possibilities of the medium of photography, these artists create a captivating portrait of 21st-century life.’

The exhibition is conceived as a journey through eight key aspects of contemporary civilisation:

  • HIVE explores the urban networks that form modern cities with images depicting the intricate ebb and flow of human activity in ever-changing built environments
  • ALONE TOGETHER presents people and their relationships and considers how an increasingly digitised world influences our social relations.
  • FLOW reveals both the invisible and visible movement of people, goods and ideas around the world and the effect these systems have on our understanding of contemporary life.
  • PERSUASION investigates the mechanisms we use to persuade others to follow our desires, from advertising and business to religion and politics.
  • CONTROL highlights the impact of authority, as well as our increasing desire to dictate order and structure our future development.
  • RUPTURE examines social breakdown, revealing conflicts between individuals and forcing us to confront civilisation’s failures.
  • ESCAPE examines leisure and recreation, including cruise ships and amusement parks, as well as revealing the paradoxical stress within holiday industries.
  • NEXT surveys the world taking shape in the 21st century, where rapid technological advancement is global.

Civilisation, Photography, Now is curated by renowned international photography curators William A. Ewing and Holly Roussell. The exhibition is co-produced by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, and the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis and Lausanne. Ron Brownson is the co-ordinating curator for Auckland Art Gallery.

Exhibition details

Civilisation, Photography, Now

Saturday 4 April to Sunday 5 July
10am–5pm daily

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Cnr Kitchener and Wellesley Streets
Auckland, New Zealand

New Zealand adult $19
New Zealand concession $16
Members and Members guests FREE
Children under 12 FREE
Separate charges apply for international visitors

For more information, images and interview requests contact:
Samantha McKegg
Communications Officer, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
M +64 21 548 480 | E   

Press release - English
467.95 KB PDF file