Until recently, Karin van Roosmalen has pursued an itinerant lifestyle, with no fixed abode. Dealing with the logistics of this, the Wellington artist faced a ‘tension between maintaining the amount of stuff necessary to function in the world and the compulsion to amass possessions’. She explores this tension in site-responsive installations.
Van Roosmalen makes work in situ, responding to gallery spaces. City Gallery’s Hirschfeld Gallery is spatially awkward: there’s a long narrow room, a smaller room to one side, and low ceilings. She works with what is already in the gallery as well as bringing in new elements. She cuts a spy-hole through a wall, revealing a strange room, reminding us of the space’s previous life as a bar. A section of the wall in the gallery’s side room has been removed to reveal an exterior slanting glass wall. The corrugated paper pinned along the gallery’s longest wall contrasts with the removed section of wall in the side room.
There are other pieces, including an assemblage of materials and threads that seems to travel from the floor up the wall. It brings in everyday and personal—the threads and fabrics are left over from sewing, salvaged from a large suitcase in the artist's home that carries the odds and ends from making clothes.