The 1st Auckland Triennial: Bright Paradise


exhibition Details

Key events

Curator: Allan Smith, Curator Contemporary Art, Auckland Art Gallery

The 1st Triennial captured the imagination of a wide audience and signalled Auckland Art Gallery's intention to stage a significant international event in Auckland every three years. The Gallery developed the Triennials as collaborative events that would engage and grow city partnerships with organisations such as Artspace and the University of Auckland. The 1st Triennial was launched to coincide with the start of the New Zealand academic year and city festivals such as Pasifika.

Bright Paradise: Exotic History and Sublime Artifice was curated by New Zealand curator and critic, Allan Smith. It presented recent and commissioned work by 32 artists from seven countries - Australia, Bali/United States of America, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and United Kingdom.

Visit the 1st Triennial website for more information


Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Gallery, Artspace and The Gus Fisher Gallery



Bright Paradise invited artists to explore dreamscapes of modern history: the artificial paradise, the lost paradise, the coastal and the oceanic imagination.

The curator intended to engage visitors through familiar imagery of landscape and seascape and provide a rich mix of historical and critical content for in-depth discussion. 'New Zealand is well-suited as a place from which to speculate on the disturbing reality of artificial paradise and the allure of utopian desire.'

Bright Paradise explored 'the place of sea journeys in the narratives of Pacific and European culture, played with the cliché of the intrepid explorer and delved into dreamscapes of modern history'. New Zealand has a unique perspective on the mix of beauty and anxiety brought on by current speculations of history and a paradise that is lost, found or just frozen in time. Bright Paradise revealed a world that is caught between a desire for information, discovery and experience, and a powerful sense of our having corrupted history and destroyed any garden paradise'.



Artists in red indicate works that were acquired from the exhibition and form the Auckland Triennial Collection. Artists with aterisks beside their names means that they have works in the Auckland Art Gallery Collection.

  • Ashley Bickerton, United States of America/Bali
  • Mladen Bizumic, New Zealand
  • Adam Chodzko, United Kingdom
  • Gregory Crewdson, United States of America
  • Lisa Crowley, New Zealand
  • Bill Culbert, New Zealand/United Kingdom/France
  • Tony de Lautour, New Zealand
  • Stan Douglas, Canada
  • W.D. (Bill) Hammond, New Zealand*
  • Kendal Heyes, New Zealand/Australia
  • Gavin Hipkins, New Zealand*
  • Roni Horn, United States of America
  • David Korty, United States of America
  • Justine Kurland, United States of America*
  • Saskia Leek, New Zealand*
  • John Lyall, New Zealand*
  • Ian MacDonald, New Zealand*
  • James Morrison, New Zealand
  • Paul Morrison, United Kingdom
  • Mariele Neudecker, United Kingdom/Germany
  • Ani O'Neill, New Zealand*
  • Sabina Ott, United States of America
  • Michael Parekowhai, Ngāti Whakarongo, Ngā Ariki, New Zealand
  • Séraphine Pick, New Zealand*
  • Patrick Pound, New Zealand/Australia*
  • Haru Sameshima, New Zealand*
  • Ann Shelton, New Zealand*
  • Michael Shepherd, New Zealand*
  • Paul Sietsema, New Zealand
  • Ronnie Van Hout, New Zealand/Australia*
  • Ruth Watson, New Zealand/Australia*
  • Brendon Wilkinson, New Zealand



The 1st Auckland Triennial exhibition catalogue was co-edited by Robert Leonard and Allan Smith. 127 pages. Sold out

Bright Paradise: Exotic History and Sublime Artifice published 11 major essays by curator Allan Smith, Peter Brunt, Gregory Burke, Nigel Clark, Leigh Davis, Annie Goldson, Giovanni Intra, Tom Ryan, Jane Sayle, Caroline Vercoe and Ian Wedde. Full list of works and artist biographies.


Key events

International symposium

Bright Paradise, in association with Auckland University Centre for Continuing Education. Two international keynote speakers: Peter D Osborne (UK) and Marian Pastor Roces (the Philippines) and eight New Zealand speakers explored a series of themes, histories and contexts some of which interpreted and reflected on New Zealand's experience as an island nation as well as revealed the impact of globalisation in the South Pacific. Speakers/papers presented included Giovani Intra and Teresia Teaiwa.


Talks, performances and events

Gallery talks by the curator and New Zealand and international artists; piano recitals.

Artspace organised panel discussions, and a performance Waltzing the Feral by John Lyall.


Education groups

Education tours offered to schools and universities



List of archives held at the E H McCormick Library, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

  • Audio and Video resources
  • Reviews: Art New Zealand vol.100 (Wystan Curnow); Artext no.74, pp.73-74(Greg Burke). Not available to view online – please contact the Library



The 1st Auckland Triennial could not have been realised without the assistance and cooperation of the following partners, patrons, sponsors and supporters:

Triennial partners:
Auckland Art Gallery
The Gus Fisher Gallery

Major supporters:
Sue Fisher Art Trust
Chartwell Trust
Jenny Gibbs
Erika and Robin Congreve
Trevor and Jan Farmer

Cultural agencies:
Creative New Zealand
British Council
Ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen)

Supporting sponsors:
The University of Auckland
City Life Auckland
Aalto Colours

Core funder:
Auckland City Council

Curated by
Allan Smith
Free entry

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