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Artist makes pit stop at Auckland Art Gallery

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The Art Circuit is a Billy Apple project that pays tribute to Auckland's mid-town art track, centred on the Auckland Art Gallery, and is the last event to be staged on the forecourt prior to the…

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The Art Circuit is a Billy Apple project that pays tribute to Auckland's mid-town art track, centred on the Auckland Art Gallery, and is the last event to be staged on the forecourt prior to the gallery's redevelopment. The sound performance features grand prix motorcycles from The Billy Apple Historic Racing Collection being fired up by world-renowned riders, including Ken McIntosh of McIntosh Racing and Hugh Anderson, NZ's only four times world champ.The Art Circuit is a Billy Apple project that pays tribute to Auckland's mid-town art track, centred on the Auckland Art Gallery, and is the last event to be staged on the forecourt prior to the gallery's redevelopment. The sound performance features grand prix motorcycles from The Billy Apple Historic Racing Collection being fired up by world-renowned riders, including Ken McIntosh of McIntosh Racing and Hugh Anderson, NZ's only four times world champ.The motorcycles are historic and classic performance machines used only on grand prix circuits. These bikes come with both a professional racing and art pedigree, having been exhibited in art galleries and museums throughout New Zealand and raced by legendary riders including John Surtees, Hugh Anderson and Aaron Slight. Also featuring as an invited guest soloist is Mike Hailwood's 1968 500cc Honda 4, courtesy of the Virgil Elings' Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum in California.

Much of Billy Apple's practice has critiqued the conditions of art practice, as well as questioning the arbitrary distinction between life and art. In this work, he has designated the Auckland streets defined by The Art Circuit both as an artwork and a potential track, of which the Auckland Art Gallery's forecourt is the start line and pit-stop. This recognises the dense community of galleries that has established itself around the one-way loop of Kitchener Street, Victoria Street, Lorne Street and Wellesley Street.

The Art Circuit is first and foremost a sonic exploration of the vehicles' individual characteristics. The three bikes will remain in position while they are warmed up to create improvised solos, duets and other arrangements. This continues Billy Apple's ongoing interest in using sound as a medium to explore ideas and incorporates his long involvement in professional motor racing.

He says the performance will demonstrate the bikes' different attributes. For example, one is a 350cc whereas the other is a 500cc vehicle: "The difference between the AJS and Norton is like the difference between a trumpet and a trombone."

This is a rare chance to see these ready-made instruments brought to life in consultation with renowned composer Jonathan Besser. The event is being organised by curator Andrew Clifford.

The feature-length festival documentary Being Billy Apple, directed by Leanne Pooley, will have its first screening the following weekend on TV1, Saturday 22nd December at 9.45pm.

When: Sunday 16 December, 12pm - free
Where: Auckland Art Gallery, Main Gallery forecourt

13/12/07

Image: 1962 Norton Manx 500cc classic British racing motorcycle from The Billy Apple Historic Racing Collection.