Teststrip: Nostalgia for the Avant-garde
Teststrip was a seminal artist-run space (1992–97) founded by a group of Auckland artists: Kirsty Cameron, Judy Darragh, merit gröting, Gail Haffern, Giovanni Intra, Denise Kum, Lucy Macdonald and Daniel Malone; with Susan Hillery, Simon Cuming and Guy Treadgold all serving for a time on the Teststrip board. Originally located in Vulcan Lane, the collective moved to Karangahape Road in 1994.
In the April 1993 edition of Stamp, which featured a posed group photo of some of Teststrip’s artists, Stuart McKenzie noted: ‘Sharing a nostalgia for the avant-garde, the best of Teststrip is both iconoclastic and commanding’, and that this was typified by work such as Intra’s which conflated ‘Surrealism with the rituals and fetishes of contemporary sub-cultures: needles, leather, Docs and drag.’
With, described Brennan, the ‘same garage can-do attitude that launched a thousand punk bands’, Teststrip coincided with the height of the grunge era, although ‘[we] were never actually a grunge gallery’, said Malone. With funding from Creative New Zealand the group upgraded the two-gallery space in K Road, formalised their publication series – the Teststrip micrographs – and broadened the kinds of projects they undertook, in particular working with Australian artists and curators, and holding a series of shows by Los Angeles artists. Teststrip’s International Advisory Board had members based in Sydney, New York and Berlin.
A history of Teststrip was published by Clouds in 2008.
- Curated by
- Catherine Hammond and Caroline McBride
- Research Library Display Case
- Free entry