Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Signed, Sealed and Delivered

"My Sister, My Self 2006" Michael Parekowhai. June 2007. Ajr
Back in 1950s-1960s New Zealand you’d often see an assortment of residential garden ornaments that seemed perfectly ordinary – concrete seals with balls on their noses, white swans cut out of car tyres, gnomes, butterflies on walls – ornaments that today epitomise a slice of our suburban culture. So it was with great delight that I ‘welcomed’ “My Sister, My Self, 2006,” to the top of the Christchurch Art Gallery stairs yesterday. The sculpture is by one of our most renowned sculptural performers, Michael Parekowhai. It pays homage not only to those garden seals but also to Marcel Duchamp, who in his work “Bicycle Wheel,” attached a wheel to a stool in 1913 and later described it as ‘readymade.’ Parekowhai’s work is constructed in fibreglass, mild steel, wood and automotive paint and this work, from an edition of five, was purchased by the Christchurch Art Gallery in 2007.

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