June 9, 2011 - Govett-Brewster Art Gallery - Fiona Pardington’s The pressure of sunlight falling at Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
June 9, 2011

Fiona Pardington’s The pressure of sunlight falling at Govett-Brewster Art Gallery

Fiona Pardington, “Portrait of a life cast of Koe (painted),” Timor 2010.
Courtesy of the artist and the Musée de l’Homme, (Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle), Paris.

Fiona Pardington:
The pressure of sunlight falling

11 June–28 August 2011

Curated by Rhana Devenport

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Cnr Queen and King Sts
New Plymouth 4342
Aotearoa New Zealand


Fiona Pardington’s The pressure of sunlight falling is a powerful series of large-scale photographs that feature life casts including those of indigenous peoples of the South Pacific taken during one of French explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville’s nineteenth-century voyages. These photographs depict casts of human heads made by the medical scientist and phrenologist Pierre-Marie Alexandre Dumoutier who accompanied d’Urville. The selection traces the path of their voyage between 1837 and 1840. The casts photographed are in the collection of the Musée de l’Homme in Paris.

The people who agreed to the arduous process of having a cast made included Māori chiefs, men and women from communities throughout the Pacific, as well as Dumoutier and d’Urville themselves.

Pardington examines the ways in which the photography of objects and the proto-photographic medium of casting can register empathy and the presence of former lives. The exhibition of photographs explores the meanings, histories and functions of nineteenth-century life casts while examining the unique, emotive power of photographic portraiture.
Pardington has exhibited and been collected widely in Australasia and in France at the Musée du Quai Branly. A selection from this series was included in the 2010 Biennale of Sydney.
An illustrated publication entitled Fiona Pardington: The Pressure of Sunlight Falling will be launched at the Govett-Brewster during the opening on 11 June. The book, edited by Kriselle Baker and Elizabeth Rankin and designed by Neil Pardington, is published by Otago University Press in association with the Govett-Brewster and Two Rooms Gallery. Writers are Kriselle Baker, Ross Calman, Rhana Devenport, David Elliott, Yves le Fur, Stacy L. Kamehiro, Elizabeth Rankin, Dame Anne Salmond, Nicholas Thomas and Ariana Tikao.
After its presentation at the Govett-Brewster, the Gallery will then tour the exhibition to the Dunedin Public Art Gallery from September 2011.

Presence: New Acquisitions and Works from the Collection
18 June–28 August 2011

Since the mid-1960s the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery has been building a significant collection of work from Aotearoa New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region. This exhibition presents important new acquisitions by Mark Adams, Peter Peryer and Shigeyuki Kihara, alongside works by Colin McCahon, Ralph Hotere, Tony Fomison, Lisa Reihana, Jacqueline Fraser, Fiona Pardington, Hiroyuki Matsukage, and Hany Armanious who represents Australia in this year’s La Biennale di Venezia.

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
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