Peter Madden - Escape from Orchid City


Media Release: October, 2006. 

Birds, snakes, skulls, spiders and a plethora of orchids; Escape from Orchid City is an imaginative insurgence. Peter Madden’s installation, which transforms the City Gallery Wellington space, draws its title from this work.

Best known in Wellington through his inclusion in the exhibition Telecom Prospect 2004: New Art New Zealand, the Auckland artist creates magical 3D universes using images cut from the pages of books, encyclopedias and magazines (National Geographic magazine is one favoured source).

“We’re proud to present the first major solo gallery project of Peter Madden’s work. He’s an artist people are beginning to take great interest in,” City Gallery Wellington Director Paula Savage says.

In this project, Madden considers the poetics of museums, the frailty of nature and how we order the world around us. Meaning becomes a matter of free association and interpretation. “In my work, I’m cutting into a body of knowledge, poetically releasing the images.”

His realms conjure up complex cycles of death, co-dependence and transformation. New constellations of beasts, buildings and amorphous substances become aligned. Both bleak and intensely jubilant, Madden’s baroque and elaborate fictions confront us with fragments of the real, melded into potential ecological meltdowns, cosmopolitan super novas.

As well as his collages and assemblages, Escape from Orchid City incorporates museum display cases and taxidermy bird specimens, such as huia.

“I was stunned by the virtuosity…some of the most beautiful and complex images I have seen…Madden is an artist who clearly doesn’t know when to stop, but then, why would you want him to?” The Listener art critic Tessa Laird enthused recently.


Biography: Peter Madden was born in 1966. He studied for a Bachelor of Visual Arts,City Gallery Wellington, 8 October 2006 – 28 January 2007

Admission charges apply

Auckland Institute of Technology and a Masters of Fine Arts, Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University. In 2006 Madden’s work has been exhibited as part of Auckland Artist Projects at the Auckland Art Gallery and in The Deep End (with Sam Sampson) at te tuhi – the mark, Pakuranga. Peter Madden lives and works in Auckland.