Past Exhibitions

The Medium is the Message

1 August – 12 December 2020 | Temporary exhibition, main galleries

Zheng Nuanzhi, Like an addiction I wept for the place I could not access 

1 August – 12 December 2020 | Temporary exhibition, The Booth 

Like an addiction I wept for the place I could not access reframes the typical nuclear family often portrayed in television sitcoms. The artwork’s title is a line from Jessica Lim’s poem ‘teen murders and constellations (dreams of misanthropy after Valerie Solanos, 2017)’.

Set within a void-like space, the video cycles through endless re-runs where the couch acts as the site where father, mother, son and daughter come together and clash with each other. Their performances subvert typical gender roles and draw on the queer theoretical concept of a ‘found family’, as the characters forge a new understanding of kinship. Dream-like musical sequences interrupt the sitcom narrative, depicting the mother actor in drag performing to the song ‘I Enjoy Being A Girl’. Her performance is accompanied by Oriental and Western cinematic aesthetics, a colonial rivalry heightened by the mythos of media.

Zheng’s exploration of womanhood is extended beyond the screen by a variety of pot plants that acknowledge the artist’s mother. Unseen domestic and immigrant labour underscores the plants, drawing on Val Plumwood’s Master Model Theory which positions the woman as an invisible worker whom the master both relies upon and ignores.

Zheng Nuanzhi is our second artist in The Booth for 2020. The Booth is a space for site-specific proposals, open annually for applications from artists across any career stage.


Queer Algorithms  

15 February – 27 June 2020 | Temporary exhibition, main galleries

Miranda Bellamy, Pathfinding

15 February – 27 June 2020 | Temporary exhibition, The Booth

Inspired by the artist’s 2019 winter residency in Vermont, USA, Pathfinding repurposes the classic word-search puzzle. The grid of letters filling the space may initially appear incoherent, but from this jumble words begin to emerge. Hidden words include those used in medical terminology, chosen by Bellamy for their significance to her personal experience of transition.

Each letter is formed by looping and tying fluorescent pink trail tape, which is scattered through the many hiking trails surrounding the Vermont Studio Center. Trail tape is used to help hikers stay on intersecting paths through the forest, and this method of path-finding is interpreted in Bellamy’s work as an analogy for finding direction through questioning and exploring gender.

Featuring fluorescent pink, Bellamy’s work references the connotations that come with this colour. It seeks to illuminate and call into question the politisation of trans-bodies, social expectations of gender-performativity and the problematic rise of the ‘gender reveal’ stunt.


The Shouting Valley 

28 September – 14 December 2019 | Temporary exhibition, main galleries

Matilda Fraser, Poet No. 2

28 September – 14 December 2019 | Temporary exhibition, The Booth

Technical Direction: Sam Lummis

Poet No. 2 is a mechanical sculpture in the form of a Brutalist-style vending machine. Poet No.2 deals with the notion of circulation, in both a textual and monetary sense. Upon inserting a NZ$1 coin, the machine will produce a printed 14-line sonnet, made up of random lines of text generated from an archive of the last 60 years of New Zealand poetry published in national literature journals and periodicals such as Landfall, Sport, Takahe, Turbine, and others. These poems are printed on thermal receipt paper for the viewer or user to take away.

The Slipping Away 

6 July – 7 September 2019 | Temporary exhibition, main galleries

Sophie Mahon, Fault Lines

6 July – 7 September 2019 | Temporary exhibition, The Booth 

While temporarily resident in New Zealand, Mahon spent time photographing the visual intricacies of the volcanic and geothermal landscape. Following visits to Rotorua and areas in the South island, Fault Lines speaks of global uncertainties and a human fragility in an environment where Mother Nature continually threatens to take hold. Mahon has carved a fissure in the work, recalling a crack in the ground from a seismic earthquake or the flow of a river or stream. Fault Lines suggests a fragile climate which is prone to snap at any moment, and for the artist this fault extends to people’s ability to connect to each other and the world around them.

The accompanying audio comprises includes those captured underwater, of malfunctioning technology and of clay cracking. the sounds of dried clay cracking and breaking apart underwater alongside recordings of malfunctioning technology.

Elke Finkenaur, Members Club

6 April – 15 June 2019 | Temporary exhibition, The Booth

Members Club borrows its title from the nearby Northern Club, an exclusive members club built on the site of the first section sold at Auckland’s inaugural controlled land sale in 1841. These clubs were socially and culturally exclusive – the Northern Club did not admit women until 1991. Members Club uses the upholstery style and material of a Chesterfield sofa, an item often seen inside these clubs, to consider forms of exclusion. The upholstered façade symbolises a door or blocked form of entry to a hidden space within.

Members Club is the first in a series of site-specific installations located in the space of the building’s original telephone booth.