September 15, 2004 - Govett-Brewster Art Gallery - Gridlock: cities, structures, spaces
September 15, 2004

Gridlock: cities, structures, spaces

Gridlock: cities, structures, spaces
21 August – 17 October 2004

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Contemporary Art Museum
Private Bag 2025, New Plymouth, New Zealand
Tel + 64 6 759 6060
Fax + 64 6 759 6072
mail [​at​]

Curator: Simon Rees

Image: Raffael Waldner Mile End Kart Track 2004, colour photograph 400 x 300 mm, courtesy the artist.    GOVETT-

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery presents Gridlock: cities, structures, spaces that presents work by 16 leading international artists who explore the implications and impact of architecture, urban planning and their representation in popular media, on contemporary art and the conduct of daily life.
Participating artists: James Angus (AU), Jose Davila (MX), Ceal Floyer (UK), Shaun Gladwell (AU), Rikard Lundstedt (SE), Andrew McLeod (NZ), John Marriott (CA), TV Moore (AU/US), Jaakko Niemela (FI), OLO (FI), Anu Pennanen (FI), Jim Speers (NZ), Johan Thurfjell (SE), Raffael Waldner (CH), Brendon Wilkinson (NZ), Ri Williamson (NZ).
Gridlock is the latest in an acclaimed series of Govett-Brewster exhibitions including Bloom: mutation, toxicity and the sublime 2004 and Extended Play: art remixing music 2003 that interpret the response of artists to prescient and at times problematic developments in contemporary culture.
Gridlock focuses on art works that introduce a deliberate sense of impermanence to the architectural equation. The works dematerialise the architectural object; traverse the grid; and reveal social and psychological processes that are often sublimated within the experience of the built environment.

The exhibition takes its title from traffic-jams that are endemic in large cities around the world; particularly infamous in Auckland, Los Angeles and New York. Gridlocked traffic is a product of the system it disrupts. And the artists in the exhibition also disrupt the architectural grid in different ways.

Despite recent ‘sculptural’ shifts in architecture represented by the work of Frank O. Gehry and Santiago Calatrava the grid remains the dominant organising principle of architecture. The grid has also reasserted itself in contemporary art particularly in recent work made by artists interested in mapping the social dimension of space under the sign of ‘relational aesthetics’. These artists often produce exhibition display systems or installation that crosses over with gallery furniture – a link can be made between conceptual minimalism and the clean-lines of modernist design. Their work reiterates the grid as much as they reveal it.

The return of the grid as a formal art and architectural principle and metaphor, is reflective of the ‘permanence’ of architecture and the inexhaustibility of modernism. The scale of building (especially towers) ensures a memorial imprint and produces a sense of buildings watching over us.

If in the collective unconscious ‘building is forever’ the artists in Gridlock attack this concept in subtle yet astonishing fashion.

A comprehensive 56-page exhibition catalogue will be available from the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in October to order your copy email:

Supported by FRAME Finnish Fund for Art Exchange, Urbis and Aalto colour.

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
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