Artist Andrea du Chatenier's new exhibition Goldenage opens at TheNewDowse on May 15.
In Goldenage, artist Andrea du Chatenier has created a futuristic vision of a world where beauty is everything - and retail is the one and true therapy. In a scene of feminine desire and excess, handcarved-polystyrene figures of long-haired women luxuriate in the pleasures of consumerism. Du Chatenier’s tableau includes beauties atop of white horses, a willowy replica of a Next Top Model hopeful and a voluptuous Venus of Willendorf who has relinquished her barefoot fertility goddess status for a pair of designer heels.
In Greek and Roman mythology, the Golden Age is the first age of the world, an untroubled and prosperous era during which people lived in ideal, blissful happiness amidst nature. After an era of natural disasters, war and financial catastrophe, du Chatenier offers us a Golden Age, but as with all moments of idealized time, there is something not quite ‘true’ about her version. Goldenage is a confused tableau of figures drawn from different visual images and different eras. Undercutting the theme of consumer paradise is a feeling of mournfulness. The birds and butterflies are dead and the seemingly glamorous figures they surround are rendered not in precious materials but, low-cost polystyrene.
“The concept of woman as Nature, seen in classical images such as Daphne, is nicely undone when constructed in a “human-made” material,” Du Chatenier says of her choice of polystyrene. “Coming from a sculptural background, I can’t help but enjoy the irony of approaching the material as you would marble….Unfortunately it’s not biodegradable which means my sculptures will be around forever!”
Born to a New Zealand mother and a Dutch father, most of Du Chatenier’s childhood was spent in Hamilton. In 1998 she completed a Master of Fine Arts at RMIT, Melbourne. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Sculpture) from Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland in 1995 and a Certificate of Design (Jewellery) from Waikato Polytechnic in1992. Du Chatenier has exhibited both in New Zealand and abroad and was one of the artists chosen to exhibit at the Sao Paulo Biennale in 2004. After completing a residency at the Sarjeant Gallery du Chatenier stayed on in Whanganui where she currently lives and teaches at UCOL’s School of Fine Arts. Recent Wellington exhibitions have been at Mary Newton Gallery.
IN CONJUNCTION WITH HANGING BY A THREAD, THE 2010 COSTUME & TEXTILE ASSOCIATION SYMPOSIUM
The exhibition runs from 15 May - 19 September at TheNewDowse.