ORGANISER Christchurch Art Gallery OTHER VENUES Christchurch Art Gallery, 6 November 2009–14 March 2010 PUBLICATION publisher Christchurch Art Gallery and Eyework; essays Ken Hall, Anna-Marie White; interview Lara Strongman
Wellington photographer Neil Pardington records the strange and surprising collections amassed in the back rooms of New Zealand museums and art galleries. The nation's treasure troves are stocked with cans of film, stuffed deer, and Victorian portraits; there are mannequins in disrepair and assiduously preserved taonga. Many of Pardington's photos highlight the orderliness of archives—their regimented shelves and stacks. This solemnity is often at odds with the contents. The Vault is beautiful, strange, and subtle in its suggestion that history is formed by a complex network of both rational and irrational decisions. Pardington is of shared Māori (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe, and Kāti Waewae) and Scottish ancestry.