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Strong core

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

As well as keeping busy with her own artistic practice, sculptor Hannah Valentine is head of design at Gow Langsford Gallery and is one of the editors behind the flowery new art book Karl Maughan.

Here she talks to us about rock-climbing, languages, and something a little extravagant.

Describe your creative process.

For me, the creative process can either begin as a series of rough drawings, or as material experiments. I find there are some drawings or ideas I keep returning to, even if they are the first in a series, and it’s generally that idea I find easiest to visualize in 3D form. Materially, I often begin projects in wax or small scale models, and when something surprises or excites me, I’ll take that as a cue to explore the idea further.

What do you think about when you're alone in the car? I like to talk out loud to myself in Italian, trying to keep my grasp of the language, or more recently Te Reo, which I have just begun learning.

How does your childhood influence your work now?

Growing up, I spent a lot of time on the soccer field and engaged with different sports. My interest in ideas around physicality, the body and active participation have grown out of this, and continue to inform my practice. Delving into worlds of Muay Thai and rock-climbing as I got older have similarly had an impact, and sparked an interest in the technical sports equipment developed to support, protect or carry the body in different pursuits.

Who are your biggest influences?

I have a strong core of artists I look up to and admire, artists such as Iza Genzken, Camille Henrot and Katharina Grosse, along with local artists such as Alicia Frankovich. The early works of Franz West and Franz Erhard Walther have similarly been important, particularly in relation to action and participation.

What materials are integral to your work?

Bronze, rope, fabric and steel tend to be my mediums of choice, or at least the mediums I have been drawn to up until this point to best express what I want to say. I have no doubt this will shift going forwards, as ideas and technologies morph and grow. I don’t like the idea of getting too tied to any one medium, though I have been enjoying the tactility of bronze recently and feel like it has a lot more to offer.

What book is beside your bed?

At the moment, On the Last Afternoon: Disrupted Ecologies and the Work of Joyce Campbell, along with The New Zealand Pregnancy Book as we prepare for a little one to enter this world with us next month.

What themes do you pursue?

I have a couple of threads that run throughout my practice. The first is an interest in the body and the idea of tactile sensibility – whether this is something that we are being conditioned out of by way of consumerism and digital technologies. The second, which feels more pressing than ever, is concern for our environment and impending climate catastrophes.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to try?

I’ve always wanted to go heliskiing. It’s a little extravagant and the cost has always put me off, but I hear amazing things. It’s on my "one day" list as an experience I would love to try!

Hannah is represented by Visions Gallery, Auckland


Image credits

New Perspectives

Produced in collaboration with Simon Denny

ARTSPACE, Auckland, New Zealand, September 23 – October 29, 2016

Photography by Sam Hartnett, courtesy of Artspace

Art and physicality: On the body in the age of hyperindustrialism Installation view MFA Grad Show, Elam School of Fine Arts, 30 November - 3 December 2017

Photography by Sam Hartnett

Anytime #4, 2020 cast bronze and Beal cord edition of 3 5 pieces, c.840 x 600 x 25mm

Something other, held in common With Toss Woollaston Bowerbank Ninow, Auckland, 8-24 August 2019 Installation ft. bronze, recycled rimu and tawa Photography by Sam Hartnett

Grips, slips, of space, a memory

Cast bronze, eva foam, red cedar

Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Auckland as a Drawing Wall project, 12 November 2016 - 26 February 2017

Photography by Sam Hartnett

Interference Installation view Visions Gallery, Auckland,1-26 September 2020 Photography by Sam Hartnett


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