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City Gallery City Gallery Wellington

exhibition

Unravelled

30 November–13 April 2020

General entry

Free

In 1968, American sculptor Robert Morris coined the term ‘anti-form’ to distinguish a new kind of sculpture that had emerged in reaction to the rigour and rectitude of minimalism. Where minimalism stressed composition and organisation, the new art preferred decomposition and disorganisation. In place of strict geometries, Morris, Eva Hesse, Richard Serra, Lynda Bengalis, and Barry Le Va draped, poured, and scattered stuff. Their work emphasised material, mutability, process. Unravelling brings together five artists who operate out of this tradition, embracing disorder and irregularity.

The regular grid is a modernist staple. However, Melbourne’s Kerrie Poliness and Napier's Martin Poppelwell make grids irregular. For her wall drawing, Poliness estimates the starting points by eye, so her grid expands and contracts. Drawn from the top to the bottom of the wall, it feels unequally stretched across the architecture. While her grids are drawn with sharp ruled lines, Poppelwell’s grids are hand painted. His distressed, holey grids—with their dirty line—suggest abraded, frayed textiles, albeit rendered in crisp graphic contrast.

Wellington artist Kirsty Lillico became known for cutting shapes—derived from the floorplans of modernist buildings—from bits of old carpet, hanging and draping them in ways that countered modernist rectitude. She has discarded the floorplans, but continues to improvise works from pieces of old carpet, joining them with big folksy stitches, allowing the shapes to fold and flop sculpturally.

Also from the capital, Isabella Loudon soaks twine in cement and hangs it out to cure, so the curves—informed by gravity—set. Her work explores the graphic and sculptural possibilities of this procedure. Shapes are inverted and combined. Her works lean against the wall, hang from hooks like rotting cadavers, or form miraculous upstanding architectures.

Auckland artist Peter Robinson presents small metal works: a mound of swarf is haunted by its likely prior state as a rectangular block and bent wires clump like a fur ball graphic. Robinson sensitises us to varieties of irregularity.