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Unmissable moments – Gavin Hipkins: The Domain

Author: Alex Grace, Communications and Relationships Manager

This summer visitors are invited into the world of one of New Zealand’s most intelligent and restlessly curious photographers.

Gavin Hipkins: The Domain is an expansive survey of Hipkins’ 25-year career. Stretching from attention-grabbing art school experiments through to a new video work made especially for this exhibition, Courtney Johnston, exhibition curator and The Dowse Art Museum director, says she knew that this show demanded a new level of commitment from the museum:

The Colony, 2000–2002 (detail). Courtesy of Te Papa

The Colony, 2000–2002 (detail). Courtesy of Te Papa

“Since rising quickly to national attention as a young artist in the early 1990s, Gavin Hipkins has tested the boundaries of photography, as a physical medium and as a conceptual practice. We knew that to do justice to Gavin’s career – especially his signature multi-part works like The Field (1994), made up of 1,500 unframed photographs – and to give audiences a real opportunity to step inside Gavin’s world view, we needed to push our own boundaries. For this reason, we’ve dedicated all of our ground floor galleries to The Domain. We’ve never done this for an artist before and it’s entirely exhilarating.”

The Shaman (Red), 2006. Collection of The Dowse Art Museum, purchased 2017

The Shaman (Red), 2006. Collection of The Dowse Art Museum, purchased 2017

The Domain is a startlingly diverse exploration of photography via Hipkins’ practice. Visitors will see old and new photographic technologies, including an analogue slide-show, photograms that hark back to avant-garde photography from the early 20th century, vinyl decals and digital films.

THIS FINE ISLAND, 2012 (PRODUCTION STILL). COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

THIS FINE ISLAND, 2012 (PRODUCTION STILL). COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

Courtney Johnston says one of the pleasures of the exhibition is the way it expands our understanding of Hipkins’ work, and the cultural power of photography:

Block Painting XXV, 2016. Courtesy of the artist

Block Painting XXV, 2016. Courtesy of the artist

“Working on the show, I realised that throughout Hipkins’ career he’s pursued a consistent train of thought, even in seemingly unrelated works made in different countries using different technologies. Whether it’s appropriating clichéd mass-produced posters in a work like The Vision (1995) or examining how a society creates and distributes images as cultural propaganda in the Empire series, Gavin Hipkins: The Domain underscores photography as the ultimate communication tool.”

The Homely: Te Wairoa (Falls), 1999. Courtesy of the artist

The Homely: Te Wairoa (Falls), 1999. Courtesy of the artist

With the ambitious exhibition, Gavin Hipkins: The Domain, The Dowse continues its commitment to meaningful presentations of new work and career surveys by established New Zealand artists, including recent exhibitions featuring Ronnie van Hout, Saskia Leek, Barry Brickell, Peter Robinson, Peter Peryer, Elizabeth Thomson, Séraphine Pick and Maureen Lander.

The Trench, 1997–1998 (detail). Courtesy of the artist

The Trench, 1997–1998 (detail). Courtesy of the artist

A full programme of events, activities and discussions will accompany the exhibition and details will be available on our website. Accompanying the exhibition is an invitation to families, friends and art lovers to take the dowseroadtrip.com and explore all the Hutt has to offer. A new book has also been produced in concert with the exhibition: Gavin Hipkins: The Domain. Published by Victoria University Press and designed by Philip Kelly Studio it features new writing by Courtney Johnston, George Clarke and Robert Leonard along with archival texts from the past 20 years. The 250 page publication is supported by Creative New Zealand, Hamish McKay Gallery, Starkwhite, and The Dowse Foundation.

The Next Cabin: Victoria (Fur), 2001. Courtesy of the artist

The Next Cabin: Victoria (Fur), 2001. Courtesy of the artist

For more information, interview requests or images, please contact
Alex Grace, Communications and Relationships Manager
Alex.Grace@huttcity.govt.nz ǀ 022 6242152

The Homely: Auckland (Archery), 2013. Courtesy of the artist

The Homely: Auckland (Archery), 2013. Courtesy of the artist

About the artist

Gavin Hipkins (born 1968, Auckland) holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Auckland and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia; he is currently Associate Professor at Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland.

Hipkins has exhibited extensively in solo and group shows throughout New Zealand and internationally. His film works have been shown in festivals including the New Zealand International Film Festival, the Edinburgh Art Festival, and the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. He has held a number of residencies, including the inaugural New Zealand artist residency at Artspace Sydney, the McCahon House Residency, and the International Studio and Curatorial Program artist residency in New York.

Gavin Hipkins is represented by Hamish McKay Gallery, Wellington and Starkwhite, Auckland

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