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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Victoria Uni will host the 2016 Venice Bienniale installation at its art gallery.

Future Islands exhibition installed in Palazzo Bollani, Venice 2016,
Photo: David St George
Wellingtonians have their first opportunity to view the New Zealand exhibition from the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale when the Adam Art Gallery launches its final shows for the year on Friday.

It will be only the second time the installation Future Islands has been on public display in New Zealand since its premiere at the world-leading architectural event in Italy.

Gallery curator Stephen Cleland says exhibiting Future Islands is a “major coup” for the Victoria University of Wellington art gallery.

“Future Islands was designed specifically to showcase the depth of our national architectural scene at what has been described as ‘the Olympics of architecture’. As Wellington’s sole venue for this touring exhibition, it’s a fantastic opportunity for us to celebrate and share with visitors the best of contemporary New Zealand architecture.”

The exhibition was conceived by the New Zealand Institute of Architects and features 50 architectural models—of both built and speculative projects—that represent various aspects of New Zealand architecture. The architectural projects are dispersed across ‘floating’ islands, which are suspended from the Gallery’s ceiling and walls.

Future Islands’ creative directors, Kathy Waghorn and Charles Walker, are giving a free guided tour of the exhibition, 2pm Saturday 14 October.

Three other exhibitions also open at the Gallery on 14 October.

What Remains, The Karori Commission, is a suite of 30 framed prints combining images and texts. Commissioned for the Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection by Christina Barton, the artwork is a collaboration between photographer Gavin Hipkins, writer Anna Sanderson and designer Philip Kelly, who were invited to memorialise the buildings and environs of the University’s now closed Karori campus.

Gallery director Christina Barton says the new work captures the history of the Karori campus as a place where teachers were trained and education as a discipline was developed, first as the Wellington College of Education and from 2005, as Victoria’s Faculty of Education.

Rather than an objective record of the site, she describes the commission as a “poetic and fragmentary response based on the artists’ curiosity and respect for what went on there”.

As a companion exhibition, From the College Collection features a small selection of works that were previously part of the College of Education’s art collection and housed at the Karori campus.

Included in the show is a selection of 42 portraits of New Zealand artists, craftspeople and educators by keen photographer Kenneth Quinn, selected for the College as inspirations to staff and students.

Other works on display include Tanya Ashken’s hanging mobile ‘Sea Creatures’—one of the earliest artworks installed at the campus—a small collection of ceramics, and paintings by Louise Henderson and Jeanne Macaskill.

Victoria’s Art History Honours students and their lecturer Professor Geoffrey Batchen are the curators of the show, Apparitions, which traces the history of the photographic image.

Apparitions includes daguerreotypes, lithographs, steel and wood engravings and illustrations borrowed from public and private collections.

Professor Batchen says this type of exhibition is seldom seen in New Zealand. It includes rare items—such as calotypes by photography’s English inventor William Henry Fox Talbot, and daguerreotypes from 1841, the first year in which such photographs were made.

Professor Batchen says the students have curated the exhibition “from the ground up”.
“They’ve spent the year studying the history, philosophy and theory of curating, and this exhibition has given them real, hands-on experience. They’ve done everything from designing the show’s layout to writing the accompanying publication.”

The students will present their insights about the exhibition and its contents as part of the Gallery’s public programme, 11am Saturday 14 October.

Apparitions: the photograph and its image
Future Islands: The New Zealand Exhibition at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale
14 October – 17 December 2017.

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