SCAPE 2018 Season opens this weekend with 18 projects with newly commissioned works from international and New Zealand artists.
For guest-curator Heather Galbraith it is her third and final SCAPE seasom (2016 – 2018)and, as it celebrates SCAPE’s 20th anniversay, it also features works from previous years. There are 10 projects either commissioned or new to Ōtautahi Christchurch from Hannah Beehre, Piri Cowie, Tony Crafgg, Tom Dale, Brett Graham, Ben Pearce, George Rickey, Chris Ulutupu and Erica van Zon
Galbraith’s describes her theme ‘Our Braided Futures,’ as weaving together new works with some judiciously sited existing works.’ These includes sculptor Brett Graham who, after three years in conversation with Galbraith is installing Plot, a marble sarcophagus which has Te Waipounamu (the South Island) carved over its top – ‘A lament and investigation of the colonial politics of the parcelling up and selling of the South Island.’Plot shares space in the Christ’s College’s Quadrangle with Tony Cragg’s Mixed Feelings, ‘a dynamic totemic column-based work, contrasting markedly with Graham’s stoic lament.’ Galbraith comments that Mixed Feelings is appropriate for the contemporary human condition no matter where you live, but possibly particularly pertinent for Ōtautahi Christchurch: ‘There are so many things still at play. There is greater optimism in the city now but it also feels, in some cases, like there is increased pessimism, malaise or cynicism. It is not straight forward.’
‘Our Braided Future,’ came from a two-fold metaphor. The braided river, so vital to the ecology of Canterbury but so endangered as an entity and eco-system. The other is from Ngāi Tahu leader and Māori language and tikanga expert, Kukupa Tirakatene (1934 – 2018): ‘The tapestry of understanding cannot be woven by one strand alone.” That whakataukī (proverb) was gifted to me by one of the SCAPE artists, Piri Cowie. The full whakataukī talks about the fact that we also have to take notice of slipped stitches or bumps within the fabric. I read that as the social fabric. Things don’t go right all the time. How do we attend to that?’British artist and film-maker Tom Dale presents two new works: Monument to the Present and The Red Zone. What happens when a city dissolves into thin air? shot over the Burwood area.
Installed anew from SCAPE 2002 in Hagley Park Lake, Caroline Rothwell’s Kotuku is a 2-tonne fibreglass sculpture, she describes as a ‘Heron type of bird - A kind of Rorschach blot-test version.’
For the opening evening, 5th October, Ngāi Tahu artist, Piri Cowie’s Mauri Moana encompasses kapa haka, waiata, mahinga kai and unique taonga, an installation and performance in the Art Centre of Christchurch’s Great Hall. Its counterpoint is Paul Hartigan’s Alphabetica Redux 2004/18, revisiting his work from SCAPE 2004, drawing with laser projections inside foyer of the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhatu.
‘Having those two live projects feels suitably energising but it also offers Paul the chance to revisit a work from 14 years ago and for Piri to make something totally new and fresh.’