Also written by SCAPE Public Art
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Resilience and community support in the face of earthquakes celebrated in first projects for SCAPE 8 New Intimacies
SCAPE Public Art presents a contrasting combination as the first projects of the Christchurch Biennial SCAPE 8 New Intimacies are revealed
September 9, 2015 (Christchurch).
The themes of community support, resourcefulness and resilience as a result of the Canterbury earthquakes feature in the first two SCAPE 8 New Intimacies projects Pauline Rhodes Mobile Tangles and Hannah Kidd Avonside Drive.
In Mobile Tangles Pauline Rhodes, senior of the three local artists in this year’s SCAPE Public Art Christchurch Biennial, has developed a project that speaks directly to both the city’s subterranean forces and people’s daily difficulties in getting their homes and neighbourhoods back to a functioning and comfortable state.
Rising water tables, liquefaction, failed sewage systems, and the urgency of rebuilding the city’s water and wastewater infrastructure all played on the artist’s mind in conceiving the artwork. Composed of three locally made Briford trailers and tangles of Blue Line water pipe of the type being used everywhere in the rebuilding of Christchurch’s underground infrastructure. The works will be parked street-side in three locations near the ?t?karo (Avon River), the Arts Centre, and the Museum. To further emphasise the provisional nature of the inner city environment, following SCAPE 8, her materials will be disassembled to re-enter the supply-chain for adaptive reuse in the actual rebuild of Christchurch.
Avonside Drive, by Methven based artist Hannah Kidd, contrasts the anti-form aesthetic and transitory nature of Pauline Rhodes’ project. Her series of new figure sculptures is comprised of four characters: Mrs Parsons, Tanya Brown, Timothy Stableman and Noel Peterson. Each is an individual of Kidd’s creation; everyday heroes based on people Hannah Kidd witnessed in the Methven and Christchurch communities offering gestures of kindness, supporting others, or maintaining familiar routines following the Christchurch earthquakes. Hannah Kidd is well-known throughout New Zealand for her portraits of everyday characters and animals, sculpted from steel rod and re-cycled iron sheets. “This is my first public art commission” says Hannah Kidd, “I love the accessibility of it and the location of the work that will allow people to take their time and look at their leisure making their own connection to the work.”
The figures will be installed in Re:START Mall, which has become a symbol of Christchurch’s regeneration and is a key meeting point in the central city. The characters of Avonside Drive represent a Christchurch community that is gathering strength and renewing its identity. The sculptures’ plinths – repurposed drainage sumps common to the rebuild – are the right height for sitting on; viewers are invited to linger with the figures, and to celebrate those in their own communities who keep on keeping on.
Just as Pauline Rhodes’ three assemblages are set apart and require people to walk from one to the other and make their own connections; Hannah Kidd’s home in Re:START offers a place to reflect along the Public Art Walkway. Re:START Mall is run by the Re:START The Heart Trust, and was set up following the quakes to provide retail and hospitality services and the opportunity for Christchurch residents and businesses to come back into the central city.
Helpfulness towards others has been one of the features of Christchurch’s post-earthquake years and in the immediate aftermath there were many stories in the public realm about this. Helpfulness is also a part of the city’s present every day and a feature of every cohesive community and healthy neighbourhood, yet the actions of helpfulness are often quiet and ordinary; and they can go relatively un-noticed. Hannah Kidd’s project specifically addresses the need to honour and celebrate the fact that everyday acts of kindness are widespread in Christchurch.
SCAPE Public Art will announce other projects and sites for SCAPE 8 New Intimacies curated by Rob Garrett throughout September. The projects by Antony Gormley, Pauline Rhodes, Hannah Kidd, Nathan Pohio, Fiona Jack, Peter Atkins and Judy Millar will be accompanied by public participation project #ThatTimeYouHelped Our Portraits of People Reaching Out to One Another.
The SCAPE 8 Public Art Christchurch Biennial is a contemporary art event, which mixes new artworks with existing legacy pieces, an education programme, and a public programme of events. The SCAPE 8 artworks will be located around central Christchurch and linked via a Public Art Walkway, alongside a programme of artist talks, guided tours and public workshops. All aspects of SCAPE 8 are free-to-view and will be available to visit over a period of six weeks between 3 October and 15 November 2015.
Rob Garrett is a New Zealand-born curator based in Poland, with more than 35 years in the art sector, including curatorial experience in New Zealand, Italy, Sweden, France, Turkey, Germany and India. Most recently he curated the 2013 Narracje public art festival in Gda?sk, Poland.
More detailed information about the SCAPE 8 Public Art Christchurch Biennial and artists is available on the website www.scapepublicart.org.nz/scape-8