ARTISTS Rita Angus, Billy Apple, Daniel Buren, Fiona Connor, Julian Dashper, Colin McCahon, Dane Mitchell, Milan Mrkusich, John Nixon, John Reynolds, Peter Robinson, Marie Shannon, Imants Tillers, Peter Tyndall, Jan van der Ploeg, Gordon Walters CURATOR Robert Leonard SPONSOR Mondriaan Fonds PUBLICATION text Robert Leonard
Julian Dashper has been a key figure in New Zealand art since the mid-1980s. He died of cancer in 2009. He was just 49. He is survived by his partner, fellow artist Marie Shannon. Julian Dashper & Friends pays tribute to an artist who changed the way we think about New Zealand art history.
Dashper made art about art, about art history, about the art business—art about ‘frames’. Some of his works pay homage to older celebrated artists, particularly canonical figures of New Zealand art, including Colin McCahon and Rita Angus; others address the machinery of the art system. While it was often abstract-looking, Dashper’s art never aspired to be ‘autonomous’. It always made its points by referring to other art.
In the beginning, Dashper explored the relation between provincial New Zealand art and the wider world of art—internationalism was a key subject. But, from the mid-1990s on, Dashper increasingly exhibited overseas—he became a practicing international artist. Today, he represents a transitional figure between the ‘New Zealand painting’ that preceded him and the new generation of post-nationalist, post-medium artists that followed.
Friendship was Dashper’s medium. As his works were constantly in dialogue with art history, Julian Dashper & Friends presents his works in conversation with works by other national and international artists—his elders, his contemporaries, and those who followed. These include Rita Angus, Billy Apple, Daniel Buren, Fiona Connor, Colin McCahon, Dane Mitchell, Milan Mrkusich, John Nixon, John Reynolds, Peter Robinson, Marie Shannon, Imants Tillers, Peter Tyndall, and Gordon Walters. The show also features a commissioned wall painting from Dutch artist Jan van der Ploeg, whose visit was made possible by the Mondriaan Fund.