Neil Pardington - The Vault

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Media Release: January, 2011. 

The Vault to open at City Gallery Wellington.

Wellington photographer Neil Pardington turns his camera on the storage rooms and hidden corners of New Zealand’s museums and art galleries for his exhibition The Vault, which opens 29 January 2011 at City Gallery Wellington.

The Vault is a series of large-format photographs which carefully record the archival holdings of this country’s heritage institutions, capturing their varied and eclectic collections—stuffed polar bears, surreal congregations of mannequins, stacks of archival films and carefully catalogued Māori taonga. Featured museums include Te Papa, the Rotorua Museum of Art and History and Christchurch Art Gallery.

These high definition photographs hone in on the practices of collecting and conserving and examine scenes where time seems to stand still. The images of cluttered shelves of figurines and stuffed owls that Pardington has created also raise questions about institutional collection policies and which artefacts are kept to remember the past.

City Gallery Wellington Director Paula Savage comments, “Neil Pardington’s works provide a fascinating tour of museum storage spaces, and through the artist’s selection of shots these spaces are also rendered strange and surreal. I’m sure visitors will be entranced by the narratives that these images offer, both as individual works and as a cohesive series.”

Neil Pardington (b. 1962) lives in Wellington and is of shared Māori (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe and Kāti Waewae) and Scottish ancestry. His work is held in the collections of major public institutions and he has exhibited widely. Recently, Pardington’s work was included in Mortality, an important exhibition at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne, where it was shown alongside key international artists such as Tacita Dean and Tony Oursler.

The Vault: Neil Pardington has been developed and toured by Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, who have also produced a richly illustrated catalogue in partnership with Eyework Art Production Limited. This includes essays by Ken Hall, Anna-Marie White and an interview with the artist conducted by Lara Strongman and will be available for purchase at City Gallery Wellington during this exhibition’s Wellington season.

A Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu touring exhibition, supported by Christchurch City Council, Creative New Zealand, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, Base Two, Imagelab, Wakefields Digital, and PSP.

The Vault: Neil Pardington

City Gallery Wellington

29 January–24 April 2011