Post-object Art

I have also been looking at post-object art during my performance art workshops. As most of my previous works have been temporary installations (due to the large scale and interactive nature of the pieces), I am thinking more about how I present my conceptual art as an ‘idea’ and how this idea is transferred through temporary public space occupancy. The artwork is usually ephemeral so any ‘traces’ of using a space and public interactions would ideally be documented visually or through written accounts – a standard practice of post-object art. 1 I’ve been using physical traces of other people’s artwork to create new work; from previous project wood-shavings, unwanted paper screen-prints and hand-me-down moulds, a complimentary element to my recycle-based practice.

New Zealand contemporary artist Jim Allen has been influential in both creating and teaching post-object art, with works (including his students) being displayed in multiple galleries nationwide. “Allen’s 1969 exhibition Small Worlds: 5 Environmental Structures (fig 1) transformed the entire space into an immersive installation. While there were discrete works in the show, the overall intention was to create a total, multi-sensory experience. Visitors to the exhibition were encouraged to walk through the works – to look, touch, listen, and read.”2 The multi-sensory aspects of this installation appeal to my studio installation aspirations.

(Fig 1). Archival photo showing the 1969 ‘Small Worlds: 5 Environmental Structures’ exhibition at Barry Lett Gallery, Auckland. Photo courtesy of Jim Allen.
  1. Christina Barton, “Post-Object and Conceptual Art,” Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand (Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu Taonga, October 9, 2014), https://teara.govt.nz/en/post-object-and-conceptual-art.
  2. Farrar, Sarah, and Julia Harris. “Creating Small Worlds: Jim Allen at Te Papa.” Te Papa’s Blog, June 10, 2018. https://blog.tepapa.govt.nz/2012/03/02/creating-small-worlds-jim-allen-at-te-papa/.
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