skip to main content
Exhibitions | Galleries | Studios | Street Art | Art in Public Places | Ōtautahi Christchurch and Canterbury

Ivan Lupi’s art is inseparable from the artist’s person, whether that be through performances, autobiographical reference, the fascination with bodily integrity and skin (tattoo, scarification, wounding) as a medium, or through external artworks that integrate with these elements.  Lupi is best known as a performance artist whose work subversively tests the physical limits of the artist’s own body in a dialogue with personal or social issues.

One component of Musings is A Set of Pleasant Feelings, an exhibition of art works, extending around three walls of the City Art Depot space. They are explorations of duration and movement as a physical record of a bodily action, similar conceptually to Gerhard Richter’s ‘squeegee’ abstractions and Bernard Frize’s continuous brushstroke paintings.

Each painting is built up from a continuous line in one take in various media by the blindfolded artist. The control, duration and direction of the line is mediated, on one hand, by mood, posture, bodily discomfort and responding to internal stimuli and rhythms, and on the other hand, how long the medium lasts. Visual cues are excluded by the blindfold. As with walking a medieval labyrinth, the artist enters a highly focussed, lucid state of pared-back awareness, a kind of satori.

This work, a process of self-soothing, healing meditation, counterpoints Lupi’s history of physical, sometimes painful durational performances. Whereas much of Lupi’s work explores the artist’s skin as medium and threshold through tattooing and scarring performances, and the scoring/piercing of photographs, this new work is an exercise in continuous line-making with an oil-based marker on a more traditional ground of wooden panels, gesso primed and coated in acrylic paint. This is the first time Lupi has worked on wood, previously working on paper and canvas with pastel, charcoal and pencil.

The other component, Solitaire, is a long durational performance by Lupi where the artist plays a game of ‘solitaire’ where the cards are replaced with anonymised photographs, reversed and traced through pierced holes or otherwise obscured, of late family members.  Lupi associates solitaire with summer holidays and the artist’s grandparents, and as the last surviving member of Lupi’s immediate Italian family, this also becomes a meditation on emotion, relation, and being a European immigrant in Aotearoa.

Lupi sits at a desk in the space during City Art Depot’s opening hours for three weeks with no breaks. The experience, like the longueurs in Last Year in Marienbad or the silence of John Cage’s 4′33″ highlights continuous passages of presence and awareness, or as Heidegger would have it, Dasein – ‘beingness’.  Each panel in A Set of Pleasant Feelings is an individual unit of an overall conceptual aesthetic declaration of human complexity and human capacity for self-awareness and healing.


Ivan Lupi, Musings
City Art Depot, 96 Disraeli St, Sydenham
27 February-18 March 2024


 Ivan Lupi, Tondo‘55 minutes continuous line with my eyes closed’, mixed media on wood panel.



Ivan Lupi, Musings at City Art Depot

+ Text Size -