Fiona Hall: Force Field


Media Release: June, 2008. 


City Gallery Wellington presents Fiona Hall: Force Field from July 12, an in-depth survey of the work of one of Australia’s leading and most innovative artists. Curated by City Gallery’s Paula Savage and Gregory O’Brien, with Vivienne Webb (Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney), it features sculpture, installation, photography and video works from the 1970s to the present. It also includes a major body of new work inspired by Hall’s travels in New Zealand.

Australian arts commentator John McDonald believes Hall’s imagination to be “so fertile that an artist could base an entire career on any of the phases she has explored and discarded”. Hall possesses “an offbeat sense of humour and a work ethic that would put the pyramid builders to shame”. Sydney Morning Herald, 19 April 2008

Adelaide-based Fiona Hall is not only renowned for her imagination but for her profound fascination with the wonders of nature. Her work questions humanity’s increasingly problematic relationship with the environment.

“In my art I am finding ways of bring together the astounding, magical, uplifting world with the very sobering realisation that we are putting that world in peril.” Fiona Hall.

Hall transforms everyday materials and objects, incorporating a diverse array of techniques, that are often domestic in their origins: Coca-Cola cans are shredded and knitted into a cloak (The Social Fabric, 1996); US dollar bills are woven to create exquisite birds’ nests (Tender, 2003-05); Tupperware containers are transformed into a stunning backlit installation (The Price is Right, 1994); glass beads are threaded and knitted into an intricate flower or a skull (Understory, 1999-2004); and in her most well known series of works (Paradisus terrestris, 1998-99), sardine tins are reconfigured into miraculous sculptures. In Mourning Chorus, 2007-08, plastic containers with attached replica bird beaks are integrated into a startling coffin-shaped display case, as a lament for New Zealand’s extinct birds.

Born in Sydney in 1953, Fiona Hall established herself as an important Australian photographer in the 1970s and then widened her practice to include sculpture and installation. In 1997 she received the Contempora 5 Art Award and in 1999 the prestigious Clemenger Art Award. She was appointed to the Advisory Council of the Australian National University’s Centre for the Mind in 1998. Hall has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally, and is represented in every major public collection in Australia.

Fiona Hall: Force Field was developed in partnership with Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, where it opened February 2008. Following its presentation in Wellington it will travel to Christchurch Art Gallery. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue.

Fiona Hall: Force Field

12 July (from noon) until 19 October

City Gallery Wellington,

Principal Sponsor: anz

Fiona Hall: Force Field is a partnership between City Gallery Wellington and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. The exhibition catalogue is generously supported by Dr Roderick and Gillian Deane. Fiona Hall undertook a residency at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, enabling the development of New Zealand-based works. City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding support from Wellington City Council.