An exhibition that traces the historical and conceptual connections between New Zealand artist Jim Allen (b.1922), a significant figure in the development of post-object art in New Zealand, and two of his key contemporaries: expatriate experimental filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye (1901-1980) and Brazilian artist Helio Oiticica (1937-1980).
The emergence of post-object work in New Zealand coincides with the emergence, not with the supercession, of formalist abstraction as in New York. That is to say, the local post-object moment was not notably mediated by American practices. If there is a connecting thread, and a group of practices that replaces minimalism as a transition to the post-object, it is kineticism, focused on movement and light—Wystan Curnow with Christina Barton, John Hurrell and Robert Leonard, 'Introduction' to Action/Replay: Post Object Art, Artspace, Auckland and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, 1999.
This March the Adam Art Gallery presents Points of Contact: Jim Allen, Len Lye, Hélio Oiticica, an exhibition that traces the historical and conceptual connections between New Zealand artist Jim Allen (b.1922), a significant figure in the development of post-object art in New Zealand, and two of his key contemporaries: expatriate experimental filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye (1901-1980) and Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica (1937–1980).
Organised and toured by the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (in New Plymouth, New Zealand) with assistance from Creative New Zealand and Michael Lett and curated by Tyler Cann and Mercedes Vicente, Points of Contact draws together bodies of work which share certain material and conceptual qualities, most especially their engagement with light, movement, colour, and the body.
Points of Contact joins a number of recent surveys that challenge the European and North American art historical paradigm, proposing and examining parallel and specific art historical trajectories outside these centres.
Central to the exhibition is the reconstruction of Allen's pivotal 1969 Small Worlds exhibition at Barry Lett Galleries in Auckland, one of the earliest instances of environmental sculpture to be presented in New Zealand. The curators have worked closely with the artist to present another iteration of these works within the Adam Art Gallery's unique and challenging architectural spaces.
These installations are joined by other works by all three artists that are variously originals, reconstructions and photographic documentation. This re-staging enables viewers to dwell on the challenges and possibilities posed by the re-presentation of ephemeral or conceptual works of art, and therefore to explore the complex legacy of the 'post-object'.
This exhibition presents Hélio Oiticica's work for the first time in New Zealand. The organisers are very grateful for assistance from Projeto Hélio Oiticica in Rio de Janeiro, especially as it struggles to deal with the tragic fire in 2009 that destroyed so much of Oiticica's oeuvre, and Guy Brett, the London-based curator and writer who was instrumental in bringing Lye and Oiticica's work to Allen's attention in 1968.
Points of Contact will be presented at the Adam Art Gallery 19 March–22 May 2011. A public programme of artist talks, workshop discussions and 'live feed' performances has been designed to provide a platform for critical discussion and to enhance engagement with the exhibition.
Image: Jim Allen, Body Articulation/Imprint, part 3 of Contact, 1974
Laura Preston +64 4 4635229 email@example.com
Opening: Friday, 18 March, 6pm
Adam Art Gallery
Victoria University of Wellington
Gate 3, Kelburn Parade PO Box 600 Wellington 6140 New Zealand