Friday, December 5, 2008

Infinite Strangeness

Hot on the tail of my entry about Wunderkammer and Fiona Hall’s Force Field comes Wunderbox. (I’m beginning to feel like I’ve slipped through a crack in my verandah and landed in the 16th century). It’s now showing at Christchurch Art Gallery – a series of works drawn from the gallery collection, which act as perfect partners for the wonderful whackiness of Fiona Hall’s show next door. In short, it’s a comment on collecting, based on the 16th and 17th century ‘wunder cabinet’ concept – “an exhibition of bell jars, boxes, cabinets, dolls, display cases, two monkeys, several bees, hundreds of hooks and one miniature coffin……..of secretive spaces, model worlds, fictitious collections and idiosyncratic trophies by contemporary New Zealand artists.” All ‘very me!’ I loved it and came home with my fingers twitching with the urge to make things – and to stuff other things in jars. It’s not as if I’m not surrounded by surplus visual paraphernalia after all and putting some of it in jars and under glass domes might at least keep the dust at bay. (I think I'm a frustrated museum-keeper). The (much-reduced) work shown above is Neil Pardington’s superb photograph, “Land and Marine Mammals Store (tryptych) Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand. 2006-2007. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery. Purchased 2007.

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