Auckland and Seoul-based artist Seung Yul Oh presented Conduct Cumulus 2017 as part of Time in Space (territories and flow), to complete the curated element of the SCAPE Public Art Season 2017.
A community of oversize bubbles will drift across the lawn of the South Quadrangle in the newly refurbished site with a long, rich history of public use and cultural activity. Conduct Cumulus, with its light and playful tone, is the first public commission in the South Island by Oh. The artist has observed our enduring fascination with bubbles, such as during family time with children at play, and celebratory events such as children’s birthday parties. Bubbles also have interesting properties for those who see beyond beautiful floating spheres. No matter what shape it has initially, a bubble will try to become a sphere – the shape that maximises the surface area and requires the least energy to achieve. When one bubble meets another, the resulting union is always one of total sharing and compromise.
The Philipp Family Foundation are responsible for significant funding towards the cost of the public artwork and an associated education resource which will bring many children into the city centre to visit, interact and enjoy the artwork. Leighs Construction have significantly contributed to the installation, in keeping with the art and industry sponsorship model SCAPE has successfully developed over the last, almost, 20 years. Both align to the idea that public art lends itself well to strengthening community and public engagement in the evolving city of Christchurch. Leighs Construction is presently on site at the Arts Centre delivering the CE West Theatre Restoration project. Past public art projects Leighs Construction has installed for SCAPE include Neil Dawson’s Fanfare 2014/15 and David McCracken’s Diminish and Ascend 2014.
The artist wants the work to honour the extraordinary actions and energies of Christchurch citizens, working individually and collectively through self-determined groups and communities of interest to rebuild their city post-quakes. The ‘Conduct’ within the title of the work refers to the idea of an orchestra where individual parts are conducted to form a unified rhythm of units. ‘Cumulus’ refers to an accumulation of airborne particles that appear to be shaped and directed by forces such as wind. The location of Rutherford’s Den and the history of the Arts Centre as a haven for families and culture also found an echo with the conceptual development of this work.
SCAPE Public Art Director, Deborah McCormick commented, “Oh’s Conduct Cumulus sculpture sees SCAPE engaging the public in this beloved central city space offering another reason to visit the Arts Centre. For many it may be their first visit to the iconic, newly restored, cultural hub of Christchurch and even to the city centre itself. We are especially delighted to be joined by a new lead sponsor in the Philipp Family Foundation and to have partnered in the production of the work by Leighs Construction. Oh is to be congratulated on his colourful, fun and engaging sculptural elements that create a fresh contemporary environment within the South Quadrangle.”
In the second Season of her three-year curatorial tenure of SCAPE, Heather Galbraith has celebrated artworks which explore how different understandings of time (geological, cultural, cosmological), and alternative ways of recounting histories combine to shape a sense of place. The 2017 artworks have been shown in a range of spaces around Christchurch, with many remaining in place beyond the planned Season to be enjoyed in the city for early summer.
Born in Seoul, Korea in 1981, Seung Yul Oh moved to New Zealand 15 years ago and completed an MFA at Auckland University's Elam School of Fine Arts. He now divides his time between Auckland and Seoul.
Large-scale diatoms to inhabit Hagley Park and Canterbury Museum
First artists announced for SCAPE Season 2017
Christchurch-born artist Wayne Barrar and Auckland-based Anton Parsons are the first artists to be announced as part of Time in Space (territories and flow), the curated element of the SCAPE Public Art 2017 Season.
Wayne Barrar’s In/Visible Landscape 2017 drawn from his extensive series of photographs The Glass Archive, will feature on a large banner on the outside of the Canterbury Museum, and billboards at seven locations across Hagley Park, with further pieces displayed inside the Museum.
The Glass Archive is a large body of photographs exploring the extraction, arrangement and circulation of diatoms and other microfossils for scientific study. Diatoms are comprised of tiny silica skeletons, remnants of algae from millions of years ago and are often found as fossils in diatomite deposits. Glass slides of diatoms were sold to amateur Victorian microscopists, and have been photographed by Barrar through a microscope, enabling us to view the detailed forms and patterns not normally visible to the naked eye.
Seven-large billboard works in Hagley Park including of fossil marine diatoms photographed through a microscope compliment a large banner on the front of the Canterbury Museum, and a giant colour pigment print in the main foyer, both featuring arranged diatoms.
Continuing a long association with SCAPE Public Art, Anderson Lloyd are again involved in the Season, and are the major sponsor of Barrar’s work.
Anderson Lloyd Partner Ben Johnston said, “We are excited to be a sponsor of SCAPE's 2017 Season, and in particular helping to showcase Wayne Barrar's In/Visible Landscape in Christchurch. Associate Professor Barrar's body of work, which considers the way landscapes change and are re-defined through human interaction, has particular relevance for Christchurch in our rebuild environment.”
Anton Parsons work comprises two impressive sculptures forged from metal. Myopia and Acquiesce are in residence at Christ’s College Quadrangle.
Myopia 2017 explores ideas about distance (both physical and metaphorical) and perceptions of the world depending on where you see things from. The aluminium rounds are spaced out in braille to spell ‘myopia’ and ‘hyperopia’. These terms are often used to describe conditions of sight (myopia – shortsighted, hyperopia – longsighted), and the work invites us to consider different ways to perceive the world.
Acquiesce 2017 also features patterning that is in braille, but the meaning of the text is more ambiguous. It could be a highly sophisticated code, or pure decoration.
The form of Acquiesce is an abbreviated version of the seam of a tennis ball, a linear shape that Parsons has been working with since 2006. This seam is a clever geometrical solution to form a robust 3-D sphere from a 2-D surface. Here the form has less of a utilitarian role, and more a metaphorical one. It has no beginning or finishing point, it is endless. The application of braille to a 3-D four-sided profile further challenges a simple translation, and offers the viewer scope for interpretation.
Anton Parsons is a long-time collaborating artist with SCAPE. Passing Time, was created for the 6th SCAPE, and installed only a few days prior to the Christchurch earthquake on 22 February 2011.
In the second Season of her three-year curatorial tenure of SCAPE, Heather Galbraith is celebrating artworks which explore how different understandings of time (geological, cultural, cosmological), and alternative ways of recounting histories combine to shape a sense of place. The 2017 artworks will be on show in a range of spaces around Christchurch, with Canterbury Museum acting as the starting point for the exhibition’s Public Art Walkway. The works by Barrar and Parsons bring visual and symbolic impact to these pockets of the city, connecting to form an integral part of the SCAPE Season 2017 Public Art Walkway.
Wayne Barrar is an Associate Professor at Whiti o Rehua School of Art at Massey University, Wellington. His photography has been widely exhibited and published internationally since the 1980s, and his work is held in major national and metropolitan collections. Publications include the monographic books – Shifting Nature, University of Otago Press 2001, An Expanding Subterra, Dunedin Public Art Gallery 2010, Torbay tī kōuka: A New Zealand tree in the English Riviera, University of Plymouth Press 2011, and The Glass Archive: Photographs by Wayne Barrar, 2016.
Based in Auckland, Anton Parsons is one of New Zealand's leading sculptors. He graduated from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in 1990. His work is held in public and private collections throughout New Zealand. Parsons’ practice has embraced a wide range of media and modes: industrial materials, readymade objects, photography and installation. His works engage physical space in profound, often unsettling ways through apparently simple means.
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