Empty promises on Featherston St
18 Nov 2010
Using a mountain of empty plastic packaging, artist Eve Armstrong has created a sculptural work in a two-storeyed vacant shop in Wellington, creating a visual pause in the Christmas retail rush.
Entitled Taking Stock and opening Saturday November 20 at 143 Featherston St. This is the fourth work in the Letting Space temporary public art series, which has previously featured Tao Wells’ controversial The Beneficiary’s Office, Kim Paton’s Free Store and Dugal McKinnon’s Popular Archaeology.
A recipient of the inaugural 2006 Arts Foundation of New Zealand New Generation Award, Eve Armstrong has exhibited extensively in public galleries throughout New Zealand and internationally, but particularly welcomed the opportunity to work with Letting Space outside the gallery environment.
“In the past I’ve been interested in systems of exchange and waste, and different attitudes to material value, so to work in a retail environment is ideal,” says Armstrong. “Taking Stock may prompt viewers to consider their consumer habits but I also hope it will create fresh narratives for these materials. The lids off our yoghurt containers or wrapping around our toothbrushes can be potent sculptural material. The fact that these items are used and grubby, and that they have had a life previous to their use as sculptural material presents further layers to unravel.”
Armstrong is creating the installation specifically for the retail space in Featherston Street, sandwiched between other retailers. Working over two levels Eve responds in different ways to the two environments -making a bright lit showroom upstairs, and a cooler retail atmosphere downstairs.
She has been collecting clear plastics from public gallery and private collection points around Wellington over the past six weeks to assemble a stockpile of materials for Taking Stock. Engaging with all the seductive qualities of retail and advertising display, the installation uses the plastic materials that surround goods – the sort that you usually have to rip apart to get to the goodies.
“Eve Armstrong’s new work Taking Stock has been in process for sometime,” says co-curator Mark Amery. “Her practice of moving materials around the city and deliberately re-presenting familiar materials in an unfamiliar way, questions what we consider novel and what we consider waste.”
Two further Letting Space works in Wellington by Colin Hodson and Bronwyn Holloway-Smith will complete the series in 2011. The series is curated and managed by Sophie Jerram and Mark Amery.
Taking Stock has been created with the support of property partners CB Richard Ellis, and galleries TheNewDowse, City Gallery Wellington, Pataka, Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Toi Pōneke, and Mahara Gallery.
Taking Stock runs until December 2, 2010 at 143 Featherston St, Wellington.
For more information, photographs or interviews please contact
Gabrielle McKone tel. 021-373-873 or email email@example.com
For more information on Letting Space go to www.lettingspace.org.nz