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A survey exhibition from the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū with its attention on the work of 24 artists, Spring Time is Heart-break ‘s attention is centred upon a generation of artists with a visible presence in current arts practice, represented in Aotearoa’s  galleries and artist-run spaces.  

Curated by Melanie Oliver, Springtime is Heart-break is an impressive survey exhibition, thematically credible and commanding in the diversity of practices and materials, the choice of artists,  ideologies and agendas, collectively making this exhibition seriously worthy of time and attention.   

Oliver perfectly captures the exhibition’s ‘journeys of translation from one place to another, across materials, times and languages’.  As such, it seems appropriate to list all participating artists:  Anoushka Akel, Emerita Baik, Wendelien Bakker, Megan Brady (Kāi Tahu, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, Pākehā), Heidi Brickell (Te Hika o Papauma, Ngati Apakura, Kahungunu, Rangitāne, Rongomaiwahine), Juliet Carpenter, Angel C. Fitzgerald, Tyne Gordon, John Harris and Steven Junil Park, Priscilla Rose Howe, Abigail Aroha Jensen (Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri), Madison Kelly (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe), Etanah Lalau-Talapā, Jimmy Ma’ia’i, Lucy Meyle, Sam Norton, Campbell Patterson, Tia Ranginui (Ngāti Hine Oneone), Luke Shaw, Sorawit Songsataya, Sriwhana Spong, Ilish Thomas and Aliyah Winter. 

The exhibition also invites comparison with the Christchurch Art Gallery’s, “collection” exhibition, Perilous: Unheard Stories from the Collection, both encouraging gallery visitors to discover and return to rediscover specific artists’ and their work on each occasion.  

The various works that make up Springtime is Heart-break encourage a rethinking of it as an exhibition, about a diversity of materials, installations and sounds.  Tyne Gordon’s  All the Courses of the Sun and Bright Waters, is an unavoidable encounter with its washing machine agitators, and its beach umbrella prongs, tiles and pewter.  Or Heidi Brickell’s Wai Ara Āta  Whāia, sculptural works in a gallery space that has few, if any precedents for an organic sculptural object, its materials, for example, bringing together Rimurapa (bull kelp) with wire, plywood, baking soda and more, and like many of the artist’s work, assuming  command of the spaces that they occupy.  Heart-break is simultaneously rich in the possibilities of its narratives and material realities of its presence.


Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, Cnr Montreal St & Worcester Blvd, 25 November – 19 May 2024


1. Tyne Gordon, All the Course of the Suns, and Bright Waters 2023.  Found objects (washing machine agitators, beach umbrella prongs), concrete,  grout, tiles, ribbon, oil on aluminium, sand cast pewter frame. Courtesy of the artist, Jonathan Smart Gallery and Jhana Millers Gallery.


Spring Time is Heart-break- Contemporary Art in Aotearoa

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