Thursday 11 August 2022
Walls to Live Beside, Rooms to Own is a response to our changed relationship to life at home and the current housing pressures facing us in Aotearoa New Zealand. Free to enter, the exhibition opens at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki on Saturday 3 September.
Featuring works from the Chartwell Collection by 38 New Zealand, Australian and other international artists, the show examines artistic responses and relationships to domestic architecture from the 1970s to today and how artists have worked with the materials and psychology of ‘home’.
The exhibition introduces two new contemporary artworks: one by Los Angeles-based New Zealand artist Fiona Connor and another by emerging New Zealand artist Tim Wagg. Each has been specially commissioned by the Gallery for the exhibition.
Fiona Connor’s Walls #1–#6 and #8 (featuring Rob Gardiner) recreates seven interior walls from around Tāmaki Makarau Auckland and the Waikato on which hang artworks by founder of the Chartwell Trust, Rob Gardiner. Tim Wagg’s work is a video portrait of a young real estate agent set against a backdrop of the commercialised landscape of central Auckland.
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki Director Kirsten Lacy sees the show as a way to honour the Chartwell Trust’s significant legacy and support of the local art community, and to reflect the Gallery’s commitment to engaging New Zealand artists.
‘The new Chartwell Show couldn’t be more timely in its consideration of the way we occupy our interior spaces and think about home life,’ she says. ‘With this exhibition, we celebrate the activities of the Chartwell Trust and as a major supporter of artists from around Aotearoa and across Australasia.
‘The Gallery has an important role to play in showcasing the work of local artists, whether internationally successful or early in their careers. We’re delighted to support new works by artists Fiona Connor and Tim Wagg.’
Across the show, audiences will encounter a range of artistic approaches from the use of scaffolding and grids to sculptural walls, domestic furniture and home furnishings, and reflections on the psychological characteristics of interior space and the outdoors.
Auckland Art Gallery’s Senior Curator, Global Contemporary Art, Natasha Conland says the theme of this exhibition reflects how the relationship between art and the home has changed since the Chartwell Collection was first established in 1974.
‘When the Collection was established, social and domestic attitudes of the post-war period were rapidly changing. Artists in Aotearoa were making use of new second-hand marketplaces and recycled domestic wares, both in their practice and for inspiration,’ she says.
‘Since then, attitudes to the home have changed. However, none of these changes has been so visible or acute as those we are experiencing now: a broad-scale housing crisis coupled with the effects of Covid-19 lockdowns, working-from-home culture and ongoing building supply issues.
‘Walls to Live Beside, Rooms to Own asks audiences to reflect on the evolving relationship with art and home life; sharpening our attention to the material and social conditions of our housing environment.’
Walls to Live Beside, Rooms to Own is supported by the Chartwell Trust.
The Walls to Live Beside, Rooms to Own exhibition publication will be available for purchase at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki’s shop from the exhibition opening.