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New exhibitions at Te Pātaka Toi Adam Art Gallery tap a creative vein in responses to our endangered planet

17 Nov 2021
These exhibitions demonstrate how creative practitioners are responding to and finding visual, material and aural means to engage with the deep history and precarious present of our planet.

Listening Stones Jumping Rocks and The Machine Stops are two new exhibitions opening at the Adam Art Gallery on Saturday 20 November. In very different ways they demonstrate how creative practitioners are responding to and finding visual, material and aural means to engage with the deep history and precarious present of our planet.

Listening Stones Jumping Rocks has been conceived and curated by Adam Art Gallery collection officer Sophie Thorn, who is responsible for the Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection, together with Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington Associate Professor Susan Ballard, who teaches in Art History and has a special interest in art and the environment.

They have drawn on the University’s art collection and brought items together with significant loans to stage an exhibition that offers a re-examination of the boundaries between human and nonhuman, life and living, speculation and imagination.

Ranging from Len Lye’s Universe, one of the late artist’s best-known kinetic sculptures, to Sorawit Songsataya’s life-sized glowing fibreglass cast of a recumbent moa, the exhibition explores narratives of hope and mourning that traverse time and track real and imagined sites, filling the Gallery with sounds, words, and still and moving images.

In addition, key items in the collection by Ngahuia Harrison, Shona Rapira-Davies, Phil Dadson, Dane Mitchell, Anne Noble, Peter Peryer and Sriwhana Spong are combined with works by Alice Bonifant, Paul Johns, Janine Randerson, Rachel Shearer, and Raewyn Martyn.

The curators see this as “an exhibition that tempers despair with concern and awe with empathy”.

Listening Stones Jumping Rocks is presented to coincide with the first conference of the Association for the Study of Literature, Environment and Culture (Australia and New Zealand) to be held in Aotearoa: Ngā tohu o te huarere: Conversations beyond human scales. This conference, which is hosted by Te Herenga Waka’s Art History and English programmes and Centre for Science in Society, will be held between 23 and 26 November 2021.

The Machine Stops features a selection of drawings and models by 13 graduate students and alumni of Te Herenga Waka’s Wellington School of Architecture—Te Kura Waihanga. These were all generated through the ‘Narrative Architecture’ stream of the Master of Architecture programme initiated by Professor Daniel K Brown, who also curated the exhibition.
Drawing on literary and visual sources and working with actual and imagined sites, these students have produced intriguing drawings and models that perform as a mode of ‘allegorical architecture’ that addresses issues of cultural loss and environmental degradation, while at the same time proposing means of rejuvenation and remembrance.

The exhibition showcases several of the projects that were singled out for a special edition of AD (Architectural Design): Emerging Talents/Training Architects. This publication explores new initiatives in architectural education, including pedagogical strategies that mix the virtual and the actual. Student work from twelve forward-looking architecture schools worldwide was identified for the publication. Editor Neil Spiller applauded Brown and his students, along with eleven other global practitioners, for “pushing the envelope of architecture in extraordinary ways”.

Listening Stones Jumping Rocks
Curated by Susan Ballard and Sophie Thorn

With works by Len Lye, Peter Peryer, Phil Dadson, Shona Rapira-Davies, Paul Johns, Anne Noble, Rachel Shearer, Janine Randerson, Dane Mitchell, Sriwhana Spong, Raewyn Martyn, Alice Bonifant, Ngahuia Harrison and Sorawit Songsataya.

The Machine Stops: The Allegorical Architectural Project
An exhibition of architectural drawings curated by Daniel K Brown

With works by Connor Aislabie, Hamish Beattie-Craven, Alice Charles, Adam Clark, William du Toit, Travis Hinchliff, Thomas Jackson, Jonathan Morrish, May Myo Min, Rory Patterson, Michael Weir, Ryan Western, and Nicholas Wilkey.

Te Pātaka Toi Adam Art Gallery 20 November 2021–27 March 2022 Summer closedown 18 December 2021–17 January 2022

Opening hours
Te Pātaka Toi Adam Art Gallery
Tuesday–Sunday: 11 am–5 pm
Free entry.

For the safety of all during alert level 2, visitors to the Gallery are required to wear face coverings, contact trace, practise physical distancing, and sanitise as instructed by the Ministry of Health. The Gallery welcomes group visits and to ensure they can safely accommodate you, please let the Gallery know in advance if your group is larger than 10 people. Contact the gallery administrator, Ann Gale, [email protected] or 04-463 5229.

The Gallery is closed at COVID-19 alert levels 3 and 4.

Te Pātaka Toi Adam Art Gallery Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington
Gate 3, Kelburn Parade
Wellington 6140