Peter Black - Real Fiction

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Media Release: March, 2003. 

Peter Black - Real Fiction, a survey of the 35 year career of one of New Zealand’s leading photographers, opens at City Gallery Wellington on 23 March. The exhibition will include approximately 200 photographs from the major periods of Black’s career many of which have never been shown publicly before.

The exhibition tracks Peter Black’s career from his first ‘street photograph’ taken in Brisbane in 1973, to his 2002 series Streetworks, images taken ‘from the hip’ while walking along the pavement, mainly in Auckland and Wellington. His photographs provide a powerful record of the everyday, reflecting the pace and behaviour of daily urban life – from brass bands and fashion shows to photographs of Springbok tour protests.

A major figure in New Zealand photography, Peter Black is also an important Wellington artist. One of a generation of photo-artists that has also included Laurence Aberhart, Peter Peryer, Bruce Foster, Anne Noble and Fiona Clark, Peter studied photography with William Main at Wellington Polytechnic before spending the late 1970s as a freelancer. His images from this time still surface occasionally in The Listener and elsewhere.

Peter Black’s first exhibition was at the PhotoForum Gallery, Wellington, in 1979. After shows at the Wellington City Art Gallery and the Waikato Art Museum, he exhibited Fifty Photographs at the National Art Gallery in 1982-the first solo exhibition by a contemporary New Zealand photographer to be staged by that institution. In 1990, his ‘Moving Pictures’ were exhibited in the old Wellington City Art Gallery premises in Victoria St – and were shown again recently as the opening exhibition at the McNamara Gallery in Wanganui. (22 images from this important series are included in Real Fiction). Between times, and since then, he has exhibited extensively in public and private galleries throughout the country. He has also made series of work in France and North America, and has produced commissioned series for Peter McLeavey, the Hirschfeld family and others.

Peter Black suggested the title for the exhibition – Real Fiction – because it draws attention to both the artifice and the reality inherent in his photography. Peter’s photographs insist on a close proximity between ‘fictional’ and ‘real’. He is concerned with the capability of real life to yield metaphors, to expand and contract. Pictorial analogies abound in the work: while Black’s photographs are images of the real world, they are also a compendium of selected fictions.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 168 page publication, a special issue of the literary journal Sport, which includes 171 photographs by Peter Black as well as essays and poems about his work by 25 leading art writers and poets (including Bill Manhire, Ian Wedde, Gavin Hipkins, Jenny Bornholdt, Dinah Hawken, Jim Barr and Mary Barr, James Brown).

For further media information please contact Anna Davidson, Publicist, City Gallery Wellington

Phone 64 4 801 3959

Fax 64 4 801 3960

Email anna.davidson@wcc.govt.nz