Daniel du Bern - Protection

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Media Release: April, 2006. 

Daniel du Bern’s Protection expands out from the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, colonising other parts of City Gallery including the SQUARE2 video monitors in the gallery entrance and the gallery rooftop flagpoles—City Gallery will be waving black flags.

The range of references in the Wellington-based artist’s exhibition are broad and often subversive: including the Russian Supremacist painter Kasmir Malevich, punk and skate culture, the 1981 Springbok tour, Tourism New Zealand advertising campaigns, nationalism, bicultural politics, and anarchist movements.

The black flags atop Wellington’s municipal gallery is a provocative gesture, but one that is timely given current debate about a new design for New Zealand’s national flag. Du Burn argues: ‘the meaning of the black flag can be interpreted in numerous ways. Within a global context the black flag is commonly seen as being representative of Anarchist movements. Yet in New Zealand, with black being recognised as our national colour, the perceived meaning of a black flag—read All Black flag—is as much about this as anything else.’ There is also a connection to art history and the work of artists Kasmir Malevich, Ad Reinhardt and, more locally, Ralph Hotere.

Alongside objects and images that relate more generally to New Zealand’s visual culture,

Protection contains a self-portrait and items of personal significance, such as a video work, which plays on one screen as part of the SQUARE2 video programme.

Daniel du Bern, an exciting young artist, is a direct descendant of William Williams, the first Bishop of Waiapu. He featured in the 2004 exhibitions Milky Way Bar: New Wellington Artists at the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery and The Bed You Lie In at Artspace. His work has also been exhibited in Australia and the United States, highlights include Melbourne’s Next Wave Festival and Festival Melbourne2006, the 2006 Commonwealth Games Cultural Festival. He was a finalist in the 2005 Waikato Arts Trust National Contemporary Art Award. He is guest editor of the current issue of the New Zealand Journal of Photography.

The Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, which will feature an exhibition by outsider artist Martin Thompson mid-October to mid-November, is City Gallery’s space devoted to the work of Wellington artists.

Daniel du Bern-Protection

21 April—21 May 2006

Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington