These days, it's mighty rare for any art or cultural activity happening in the city to be enticing enough for me to abandon my precious Saturday of writing, sewing or crafting, spruce myself up, and catch the bus over the Harbour Bridge and into town. Yesterday, however, was an exception.
Last week, I received an email from Hopkinson Cundy Gallery advertising their latest exhibition by Auckland artist Luke WillisThompson with the run-together title inthisholeonthisislandwhereiam
What intrigued me about the promotional statement for Thompson's show was the news that the gallery was to be vacant for the duration of the exhibition (15–31 March 2012), and that the work itself was a property in Epsom which visitors would be transported to by taxi to view and then driven back into the city again afterwards.
As a person fascinated by the idea of the 'second location' (the title of my book of short stories in fact), my imagination immediately went to work. My best guess was that visitors would be taken to a place that would later be revealed as the scene of some terrible crime. People who know me would not be surprised that I would immediately think of something dark and sinister, but it was actually the exhibition blurb that got me thinking along these lines:
'Thompson’s conceptual practice exists in both tangible and intangible forms. In recent work the artist has borrowed ready-made objects –such as a local funeral home’s art collection and a black minstrel-style figure from an antique store– to trace the faultlines of race and class in his chosen context. Thompson’s objects are often taken from sites of trauma or contain references to the artist’s biography, but these are rarely made explicit. Thompson sets up estranging encounters where the viewer is invited to engage with a marginal object both ontologically and pushed into a fictional space of narrative and mythology.'
After reading that, there was no way on God's green earth that I was going to miss out on this opportunity, not only to get taken to a mystery second location, but to a place where we were actively encouraged to construct a story, or multiple stories, based on our experience there.
I invited my friend Isabel to come along, and at one o'clock yesterday afternoon we climbed into the taxi below and went on a very strange adventure.
I'm not going to tell you about it now. I'll wait until after the exhibition has ended. It's a bit like going to see Agatha Christie's Mousetrap in London's West End, where audience members are asked not to disclose the solution to the mystery to anyone who hasn't seen it yet.
All I will say is that if you are in Auckland, or planning to visit before the end of the month, then I would encourage you to contact Hopkinson Cundy. They will ensure that a cab is waiting for you and you will embark on an adventure of your own.
Here are the details:
Transport to the Epsom site is provided by the gallery. The work can only be viewed between 15-31 March, strictly during gallery hours: Tuesday-Friday 11am-6pm and Saturday 11am-3pm. Please allow approximately 45 minutes to view the work in its entirety. Bookings (especially for more than 4 people) are appreciated.
For further enquiries please contact the gallery directly.
1/1 Cross St
PO Box 68465
+64 9 5511644