We’re Not Too Big to Care

6 April – 15 June | FREE ENTRY 

 

‘We’re Not Too Big to Care’ comes from a 1984 television commercial by the iconic New Zealand grocery store Four Square. Using these words to maintain Four Square’s loyal customer base in the midst of larger corporations, it is a slogan that feels very relevant today. Open to interpretation, the phrase ‘We’re Not Too Big to Care’ may be applied to an organisation or individual and questions that whatever the scale, hierarchies of power and influence are inherent at every level.

The first exhibition at the newly re-opened Gus Fisher Gallery will address the commercial landscape that the gallery now finds itself in. Shrouded by Shortland Street’s corporate high-rises in Auckland’s central business district and near to the arguably declining commercial bubble of Queen Street, ‘We’re Not Too Big to Care’ is a response to the de-humanising nature of mass production and its impact on the individual.

Exploring themes of labour, consumerism and technology, the exhibition uses Cao Fei’s film ‘Asia One’ as a starting point to consider corporate effects on the individual. Filmed in the world’s first fully automated sorting centre in China, ‘Asia One’ examines the impact of automation and robotics on human relationships. Fei’s surreal tale of cyclical ecstasy and despair occurs in the warehouses of JD.com, China’s equivalent of Amazon, which completed 1.6 billion orders in 2016. Caught between the need to earn money for one’s family and the time pressures of a factory job, Fei’s nuanced installation is a timely take on what it means to exist in a world dominated by commercial desire, where technology threatens to overcome human skill to nullifying effect.

Using Four Square’s slogan as a retort to the fast paced, cyclical and constructed commercial landscape representative of contemporary life, the exhibition explores what it might mean to rise above these structures to enable us to all regain a sense of humanity. 

 

Participating artists: Angela Tiatia (Aotearoa New Zealand/Australia/Samoa), Aroha Novak (Ngāi te Rangi, Ngāti Kahungunu, Aotearoa New Zealand), Billy Apple (USA/Aotearoa New Zealand), Cao Fei (China), Carole Prentice (Aotearoa New Zealand), Cushla Donaldson (Aotearoa New Zealand), Deborah Rundle (Aotearoa New Zealand), Duvet Brothers (UK), Emily Hartley-Skudder (Aotearoa New Zealand), Gabrielle Amodeo (Aotearoa New Zealand), Hikalu Clarke (Aotearoa New Zealand), John Baldessari (USA), James R Ford (UK/Aotearoa New Zealand), Julian Dashper (Aotearoa New Zealand), Mervyn Williams (Aotearoa New Zealand), Miranda Bellamy (Canada / Aotearoa New Zealand).