This August, City Gallery Wellington presents a major exhibition by New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based artist Patrick Pound.
Pound is an avid collector, he has made an art of it. He collects and organises items—from found photographs and every-day things to priceless artworks from institutional collections—drawing unique connections and themes to create wondrous ‘museums of things’.
Pound’s projects often combine items from his extensive collections with others from museum collections, shuffling high and low. In 2013, Pound concocted the much-loved The Gallery of Air for Melbourne Now, at the National Gallery of Victoria. He packed a room with hundreds of exhibits from his collection and the Gallery’s. From a John Constable cloud study to an Air India Salvador Dalí ashtray to an asthma inhaler, each item had something to do with air.
“The visitor gets to rethink what it means to collect and to categorise, to sort and to store, and to even find patterns and a little poetry in our attempts at ordering and explaining our world,” says Pound.
At City Gallery, On Reflection plays on ideas about mirroring and the double. It is organised as a vast palindrome or Rorschach test, unfolding from the entrance to the installation with each item reflecting on and directly corresponding with something else. This time bringing together hundreds of items from his private collection with more than 80 treasures from Te Papa Tongarewa, Pound continues to blur the lines between public and private, significant and insignificant, while continuing to invert the typical power dynamic between artist and institution.
Pound is interested in how things can be found, and made, to hold ideas differently. He says: ‘Things are pliable — they aren’t as set in their ways as we might think.’ Pound puts the very idea of a meaningful collection to the test. The visitor gets to test their wits against his arrangements of things. A set of 21 found photographs is pinned in a single line. At first glance they seem to have little in common, until the visitor realises that the wind is passing through them in a single direction. A sail has caught the wind, a child blows up a balloon, a flag waves to the right, a tie is blown over the shoulder of a man, and so on the wind goes through these photographs. Then the visitor notices that works from Te Papa are doing the same thing. The wind appears to pass through them in the same direction. Then in, and through, other things the wind heads the opposite way.
‘Pound works with—and kicks against—the ways collecting imposes meanings and values on things. In forging new imaginative and poetic associations between exhibits, he grants them “a temporary reprieve” from their ascribed mandates and prompts us to see them anew,’ says Curator Aaron Lister.
11 August – 4 November, 2018 | Free entry