Folded Memory

Folded Memory

Adam Art Gallery at Victoria University of Wellington

March 8, 2024
Folded Memory
November 18, 2023–March 28, 2024
Adam Art Gallery at Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600
Gate 3, Kelburn Parade
Wellington 6140
New Zealand
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–5pm
Facebook / Instagram

Folded Memory begins with a tree, a huge cross-section of a Podocarpus tōtora which sprouted as a sapling sometime around the year 1481. Its growth rings hold the carbon it breathed for 425 years. Inaugural chair of biology Harry Borrer Kirk bought the tree to the University and placed a colonial history along its rings tracing the arrival of Columbus in the Americas and the arrival of Cook in Aotearoa. In 1913 as part of a Royal Commission on Forestry in New Zealand, this cross-section was used to support an argument for the felling of native forests and planting of exotic species in Aotearoa. The Tōtara carries the weight of this imposed history within its body.

What was this tree witness to? Folded Memory reimagines narratives held deep within the rings of the Tōtara and extends these pūrākau (stories) across the uneven ecosystem of a forest. The exhibition uses the metaphor of the forest to locate works within the gallery.

Folded Memory is a group show of sixteen artists and collaborations, including moving image, painting, sculpture, sound and temporary installation featuring artists: Nova Paul, Yllwbro, Xin Cheng, Maria Olsen, Emerita Baik, Vivian Lynn, Flora Christeller, Mo H. Zareei, Richard Niania & Joyce Campbell, Bridget Reweti, Taarn Scott & Hana Pera Aoake, Susan Skerman, Richard Frater & Richard Francis.

The exhibition unearths a number of works by women artists from the 1980s. This the first time Vivian Lynn’s set of nineteen Asherim Drawings, c1985, have been exhibited. It also includes an installation of Susan Skerman’s Bush Panels, a sixteen part set of Perspex panels from 1981, which are just a trace left of a mammoth seven hundred piece work produced for the New Zealand pavilion at Expo ’70, Osaka, Japan, and subsequently lost in mysterious circumstances.

The artworks in Folded Memory are made from many parts and carry within them a resistance to simple answers. Stories spiral out of artworks. Shifting from planet to plant, folding connections with cosmic worlds into alternative visions of living and being, Folded Memory questions the physical evidence of time held within the rings of a tree.

Folded Memory is a second chapter in an exhibition series which began in 2021 with Listening Stones Jumping Rocks also at Te Pataka Toi Adam Art Gallery. Drawing on Nga Puhipuhi o Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection alongside key loaned items to both complement and complicate the collection. Folded Memory is part of an ongoing curatorial collaboration between Susan Ballard (Professor of Art History) and Sophie Thorn (acting Director Adam Art Gallery). It is envisioned as part of a larger series which aims to shift from listening, to remembering, to imagining and in doing so narrate a new environmental art history of Aotearoa.

Te Pātaka Toi Adam Art Gallery is the art gallery of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington located in Wellington, the capital city of Aotearoa New Zealand. It is a forum for critical thinking about art and its histories as well as the professional structure within which the Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection is managed. The gallery’s programmes aim to test and expand art form and disciplinary boundaries and create new opportunities to bring artists together and generate fresh conversations. The gallery is a remarkable architectural statement designed by the late Sir Ian Athfield, one of New Zealand’s foremost architects.

RSVP for Folded Memory
Adam Art Gallery at Victoria University of Wellington
March 8, 2024

Thank you for your RSVP.

Adam Art Gallery at Victoria University of Wellington will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.