Teststrip: Nostalgia for the Avant-garde


exhibition Details

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.

Image credit: Ann Shelton Guy Treadgold and Giovanni Intra at Giovanni’s Opening, Teststrip, 1995. Image courtesy of the artist.

Curated by
Catherine Hammond and Caroline McBride
Research Library Display Case
Free entry

Explore Further

Related archives