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Face lift

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

Enjoy Art Gallery has revealed their new space in Wellington’s Left Bank Arcade, with the de-installation of its first exhibition. Jess Scott reports.

Until recently Kerry Ann Lee’s Ordinary Things will be signs for us, a collage of graphic fragments from Enjoy’s archival material, covered the gallery’s front-facing windows. The work references the tradition of plastering over windows of shop-fronts under construction, concealing their interior from the street.

Kerry Ann Lee, Ordinary things will be signs for us (detail), 2019. Outside 211 Left Bank, Cuba St. Image courtesy of Xander Dixon.

Lee, a multimedia artist and lecturer, says she trawled through Enjoy’s archives, pulling out narratives that drew her eye 'as a collector, graphic artist, magpie.' Ordinary Things comprises of various snippets of text and image; invitations, notes between artists and curators, proposal documents, ‘things that might be quite personal or sensitive and might not ever have seen the light of day’.

While perusing the archives, she says it was interesting to see the trends and styles of the past two decades playing out across the gallery’s 19 year history. She describes Enjoy’s early graphics as ‘very Y2K.’ Ironically Y2K is a trend, which almost 20 years later, has resurged as a popular aesthetic.

Lee says it was funny to look back on some of the more audacious proposals, many very sarcastic and sardonic. ‘There were people going well, hey, we don’t care if you don’t like our show’.

Ordinary Things will be signs for us was in place up until the gallery’s reopening on 10 August, when visitors were invited to take pieces of the installation, gradually revealing the new space.

Inside the gallery is the exhibitions of two emerging Auckland artists, Matavai Taulangau and Wai Ching Chan.

Knotting workshop with Wai Ching Chan, Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, 4 May 2019.

Chan, a recent Elam graduate, is presenting Wishing Well. An ongoing research project, it takes traditional Chinese knots as a starting point to explore relationships between tauiwi (white settlers/ foreigners) and Tangata Whenua. Wishing Well aims to open dialogues around the cultural significance of these symbols, treating the art of knotting as a practice of ‘speaking between’ the shared values of diverse cultures.

AUT graduate Taulangau is showcasing Mau’u Pe Kai, a moving image installation documenting three kumara harvests, one by the Tongan community in Okaihau, Northland, one by the artist’s mother in Kaikohe and the third by the artist himself, in Auckland. ‘Each patch of soil is a source of cultural knowledge,' says Taulangau. 'The act of filming is to assert the significance of Indigenous Tongan knowledge and even though memories fade, the hands who tend the soil will always remember.’

Matavai Taulangau, Polopolo, 2019, still. Image courtesy of the artist.

Enjoy Gallery

211 Left Bank Arcade, Wellington


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