David Cross - Closer


Media Release: June, 2005. 

Wellington artist David Cross’s solo show in the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery brings together a video projection, photographs and a seven-hour long performance which collectively explore ideas about beauty (especially male beauty) and the grotesque, horror and humour, intimacy and endurance.

Cross’s practice is based in performance art, and he takes as his own body as a starting point in much of his work. Cross has a physical condition whereby his eyes continuously leak tears and it is this “difference” and “abnormality” that he explores in his work. As Cross says: ‘I want to use my body and its difference to tease out broader issues: about aesthetics, about beauty, about the function of the grotesque in our culture.’

The video work in Closer mixes Cross’s own "flawed" body into a line-up of male models, chosen to epitomise male beauty. The suite of photographs in the exhibition show the artist’s eye peering out at us from behind cheap Halloween masks, as Cross plays off jokey cartoon-style horror against his own body, which he says has ‘an element of real horror about it’.

Cross says: ‘I guess a term that’s very important to me is “the uncanny” – the point where something familiar becomes unfamiliar. For me, that moment of uncertainity is what my work is about.’

Closer exposes viewers to a range of these uncanny experiences, particularly with Bounce, Cross’s one day performance event to be held on Saturday 16 July, from 10am to 5pm.

For Bounce, Cross will install a huge red inflatable structure in City Gallery Wellington’s main foyer, and invite visitors to the Gallery to climb and jump on it. Cross says of this event: ‘I want people to think: “Yay, a bouncy castle in the gallery, let’s go and play, let’s go jump all over it!” Yet at a crucial point the audience response will change, as they fully understand what is actually taking place within the work.’

Join David Cross as he discusses his exhibition with Massey University lecturer and arts commentator Aaron Kreisler. Thursday 21 July at 5.30pm, in the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery. Free entry.

David Cross – Closer

Michael Hirschfeld Gallery at City Gallery Wellington 

24 June – 31 July 2005

Free entry, open every day 10am – 5pm

David Cross – Bounce

A one day performance event

16 July 2005, 10am – 5pm

Free entry


David Cross was born in Melbourne in 1968. He has a Masters degree in Visual Arts from Monash University and is currently completing a PhD through Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. He has been exhibiting regularly since the early 1990s. His work has been included in Perspecta 1999, Sydney, and he has presented performances at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne and 2003 Interactions5, Poland. He has also presented performances locally at The Physics Room, Christchurch, the Adam Art Gallery, Wellington, and Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Wellington. David Cross is a senior lecturer in the School of Fine Arts at Massey University, Wellington, and a regular contributor to Australian and New Zealand arts publications.