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Questionable rattling

Updated: Jul 21, 2020

Ed Bats is a visual artist represented by Gallery9 and Parlour Projects. He talks life, art, and the mysterious knocking in his car in our new interview series.

What’s the most memorable response you’ve had to your work?

My mother once asked me to make a painting for her lounge. She hated the painting I did, gave it back, then went and bought some bach-art of a stranded boat to remind her that she lives 15 meters from the ocean. I wasn’t even offended, I promise…

What project are you working on now?

Two solo exhibitions in June. One is with Gallery9 in Sydney and the other in Paris with Galerie42b. At this stage it is too early to specify, but I think it will be a mix of paintings, sculptures, and some works on paper.

What's the last show that surprised you and why?

Jake Walker, The Town Belt, at City Gallery in 2014. I know its a few years old and I am not implying that nothing good has been shown locally recently, but at that time it was my introduction to his work and I immediately loved it. It ticked all the right boxes for me in terms of my interests, and I’m still a big fan. Also Martino Gamper, 100 chairs in 100 days at City Gallery in 2017 was one I went back to a few times. I think about those chairs a lot…

How do you organise, plan, and prioritise your work?

I don’t. I always have a lot of works on the go. Some gather dust then get reworked months/years later. Bits of material gradually morph into a sculpture of some kind, and if I have a show coming up I will just keep working and then assess the works in my studio to decide what is the best work for the show/s closer to the dates.

Who is your favourite NZ artist? Why?

Karl Fritsch, Don Driver & the people who own Taste of India. I have always enjoyed artists who dabble in all kinds of avenues.

Karl Fritsch because he’s a jeweler and while I don’t know anything about jewelry, his vast catalog of work brings me an insane amount of joy.

Don Driver because he too had an expansive array of works crossing many fields within his practice. It’s incredibly striking visually, shows a sense of humour and nine times out of ten his colour combinations are weird enough to make you question whether you understand why you like certain colours to begin with. RIP, a kiwi legend.

And then the Taste of India guys on Cambridge Terrace, because it’s the best curry in Wellington and if you deny that you obviously have never had it or you’re just disagreeing for the sake of it.

What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

What is that rattling sound, and should I go get it fixed?

Money is no object. Which priceless artwork do you buy?

Well it’s not priceless, but I would love to own Ocean Park #24 by Richard Diebenkorn.


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