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Announcement
July 1, 2021

Crossings (a group show about intimacies and distances)

Adam Art Gallery at Victoria University of Wellington

Upstairs: Allan McDonald, Here and Now, 2010–20. Sonya Lacey, Obstructions, 2020. Downstairs: Emma McIntyre, The cove, 2020. Installation view of Crossings, Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, Wellington, 2021. Photo: Ted Whitaker.

Next Spring, On Distance, 2020. Installation view, Crossings, Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, Wellington, New Zealand, 2021. Photo: Ted Whitaker.

Foreground: Grant Lingard, Swan song, 1995–6. Background, from left: Emma McIntyre, Veils, 2020; The cove, 2020. Installation view, Crossings, Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, Wellington, New Zealand, 2021. Photo: Ted Whitaker.

Participants: Turumeke Harrington, Yolunda Hickman, Sonya Lacey, Rozana Lee, Grant Lingard, Vivian Lynn, Allan McDonald, Emma McIntyre, Next Spring, Layla Rudneva-Mackay, Richard Shepherd, James Tapsell-Kururangi

Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi is proud to present Crossings (a group show about intimacies and distances), featuring 11 contemporary artists, two filmmakers and two writers. The exhibition is curated by Christina Barton, Millie Riddell and Sophie Thorn, and runs from June 19 to August 22, 2021.

Crossings began with a reflection on the disruptions of 2020. Following a dramatic collective pause in the wake of the first waves of the global pandemic, the curators set out to reflect on what it felt like as we physically withdrew from the world but its dangers seemed ever more present.

Crossings brings together a range of artists and works that register the polarities of inside and outside, closeness and distance, health and illness, and the impacts of larger external forces on our collective subjectivities. The works in the exhibition include meditations on public and private spaces and our movements between them; on the body in states of illness, pain, pleasure, reproduction and death; on mobility and change in the face of political and economic turmoil, and on the inevitable impact of an unseen threat. They ask: how can these intimate experiences, fraught relationships, larger forces and their attendant effects be communicated in an art work?

Crossings is not a show about the pandemic; few of the works were made during New Zealand’s relatively brief periods of lockdown or in response to the country’s closed borders, though the selection of local artists and easily transportable artworks may be a consequence of the situation. Instead, artists of different generations and works made at various times for a variety of reasons have been selected.

These range from a book work begun in 1983 by pioneering feminist artist Vivian Lynn (1931–2018), Threshold, to photographs of closed shops produced over more than a decade by photographer Allan McDonald, (Here and Now, 2010–20), and a powerful installation of store-bought laundry racks with fresh white towels and sheets, Swan song, by Grant Lingard who died of AIDS-related illness in 1995. Recent works by Turumeke Harrington, Rozana Lee, Yolunda Hickman, Sonya Lacey, Emma McIntyre, Layla Rudneva-Mackay and Richard Shepherd demonstrate how objects, images, materials, and surfaces carry meanings that are opaque, at the edge of conscious thought, that suggest rather than proclaim. They niggle at the edge of knowing, to articulate the promise and fear of a threshold state.

Crossings also expands audience expectations by an installation dedicated to a recent publication by Next Spring, an initiative of Berlin-based New Zealand writer and curator, Laura Preston, which includes the essay ‘On Distance’ by Boaz Levin and the film, which is his subject, Havarie by Philip Scheffner and Merle Kröger. This delivers a nested meditation on closeness and distance played out across a geopolitical terrain ranging from Northern Ireland to Israel, Berlin to the Mediterranean Sea and co-mingles sound, image, text and screen. The exhibition also confounds viewers by deferring their consumption of its contents, directing them to an online text by James Tapsell-Kururangi based on a year he spent living in the home of his recently-departed grandmother that is only available on the Gallery’s website.

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