Three exhibitions at Artspace

Contemporary artists make some art in their own absence.
Lauren Carroll Harris
May 10, 2013


Three new exhibitions at Artspace cast a searching light on the ties between artist and machine, civil life and technology. In the wake of Anish Kapoor’s giant automatic artworks, this show has removed the artist’s hand from the construction of the work. Contemporary art has gone Blade Runner, the future is here and the artists are absent.

Kiwi art lecturer Simon Ingram has Frankensteined together three 21st Century painting machines. A paintbrush —daily replenished by the gallery staff who also choose the paint colour — is propelled across a massive canvass in random circles and stripes, easy as a machine. The ground here isn’t new, but to really look at these works is to realise that even in automation there is variation. The works are neither as uniform, nor as gridded as they first appear, and they are created during the show itself rather than in the studio.

Meanwhile, Mari Velonaki has created and videoed a humanoid robot in a glacial landscape, accompanied by a soundtrack automatically generated by a swirling kinetic machine. Petra Gemeinboeck and Rob Saunders have installed a mystery motorised machine that lurks behind the gallery walls, hammering and perforating its way across them. Despite the coldness of this concept, it weirdly enlivens the gallery space, leaving a trail of white paint dust on the floor as it goes.

Together, the artists have transformed the gallery into a dark, machine-spurred cavern of clicks, whirs and zips. As with much conceptual art, this is not a show for browsing and glancing - speak to the friendly Artspace staff and get amongst the shows’ written statements. The ideas are all there. Just delve in.



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