Sarjeant Gallery Whanganui | Gallery’s architecture provides artistic inspiration
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Gallery’s architecture provides artistic inspiration

 T. Ransfield, National Publicity Studio photograph: Sarjeant Gallery interior with the Wrestlers, black and white photograph, June 1958. Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui.  Printed off a negative from the National Library of New Zealand collection.

Gallery’s architecture provides artistic inspiration

When the Sarjeant Gallery opened in September 1919, the gallery beneath the dome was devoted to the display of sculpture. By the early 1920s, the centre of this gallery had become home to The Wresters, a marble copy of a Greek original from the studio of Professor Raffaello Romanelli in Rome. This sculpture remained at the heart of this space until December 1979, when a project by artist Billy Apple displaced the work to a smaller room near the entrance to the gallery. The resulting exhibition, Toward the Centre, presented eight framed pictures accompanied by text that documented the action of removing the sculpture from this central position and it’s rationale.  Toward the Centre was the first in a series of over 30 artworks and installations that would be created specifically for this space in the decades that followed.

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Joanna Langford, Down from the nightlands, 2007, mixed media

Among the artists who have taken up the challenge in recent years is Joanna Langford.  Down from the Nightlands (2007) saw the gallery transformed into an uneasy dreamscape of rickety towers and impossibly steep flights of miniature stairs that stretched upwards into the space of the dome. The last in the series to date, Comeback, was created by graphic designer and handwriting artist Sarah Maxey in 2012.

The historical significance of the Sarjeant Gallery building in Queen’s Park is recognised today at both a national and local level. The earthquake strengthening and redevelopment of the building will not only preserve this architectural treasure and enable it to provide a safe home for the Gallery’s collection that meets twenty-first century standards, but also to keep on inspiring and challenging contemporary artists and their audiences for many years to come.

Kimberley Stephenson
The Dome Installation series:

1. Billy Apple Toward the Centre, opened 7 December 1979
2. Pauline Rhodes Extensions, 2-30 March 1980
3. Tom Mutch Corridors for Robbed Primatives Part I, 5 September 1984
4. Grant Corbishley Empty Hills, opened 22 November 1984
5. Matt Pine Circle 2, 30 May – 24 June 1984
6. Angela Porteous Hang Up, 22 December 1984 – 3 February 1985
7. Albert McCarthy Central Piece, 10 May – 8 June 1986
8. Don Driver Bicycles, 13 December 1986 – 29 March 1987
9. Andrew Drummond Coming and Going, 7 November 1987 – March 1988
10. Peter Roche Dome Installation, 26 March 1988 – July 1988
11. Christine Hellyar Palm Court, 28 August – 14 November 1988
12. Siegfried Koglmeier Dome Installation, 21 November 1988 – 12 March 1989
13. Mervyn Williams Dome Installation, 4 November 1989 – 11 February 1990
14. Neil Dawson Globe Down Under, 14 July – 14 October 1990
15. Maureen Lander Headwaters, 31 August – 20 October 1991
16. Matt Pine Crete (A Memorial to Matiu Bailey), 9 May – July 10 1992
17. Di Ffrench And Out Flew the Web, 4 August – 25 October 1993
18. Chris Booth Pumice From the Mountains, 1 November 1993 – 16 January 1994
19. Roger Peters The Wrestler’s Ball, 22 January – 27 March 1994
20. Bob Negrijn My Ideal Dining Room, 16 April – 14 August 1994
21. Billy Apple Back at the Centre, 3 September – 20 November 1994
22. Joanna Paul Paris is Changed, Alas!, 19 February – 30 April 1995
23. Peter Gibson Smith Bathers, 15 June – 10 August 1996
24. Warren Viscoe Interpolation of an Icon, 14 September – 27 October 1996
25. Grant Corbishly Paradise – A Post-Mortem, 22 November 1996 – 23 March 1997
26. Andrew Smith Arena: The Centre of Attention, 14 August – 27 October 1997
27. David Clegg The Museum of Noname Objects, 15 May – 27 June 1999
28. Victor Meertens EBW (Experimental Budgie Workshop), 2 October – 14 November 1999
29. Rita Dilbert First Aide, 5 October – 24 November 2002
30. Gavin Buxton Flying Circus, 10 May – 20 June 2003
31. Joanna Langford Down from the Nightlands, 24 November 2007 – 24 February 2008
32. Fran Dibble In Still Ponds the Universe is Reflected, 1 March – 18 May 2008
33. Michael Tuffery The Umbrella Project, 6 December 2008 – 1 March 2009
34. Bill Culbert 180° x 2 Whanganui, 1 August – 29 November 2009
35. Sarah Maxey Comeback, 15 December 2012 – 3 March 2013

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Sarah Maxey, Comeback, 2012

 

Category
Sarjeant Stories