White chapel

With con­tem­po­rary art on tap, an Auck­land home is a highly en­gag­ing space

HOME Magazine NZ - - Contents - Text Henry Oliver Pho­tog­ra­phy David Straight

Even for ded­i­cated ap­pre­ci­a­tors, a re­la­tion­ship with con­tem­po­rary art is usually di­vided into two dis­tinct con­texts: the home, where paint­ings, draw­ings and prints hang on walls and we come to know them in de­tailed, in­ti­mate ways; and galleries and mu­se­ums, where sculp­tures, in­stal­la­tions, per­for­mances and videos sit on plinths, hang from ceil­ings and fill pitch-black rooms to be seen once or twice and never again. And while we might be more in­ter­ested in the chal­leng­ing work of the gallery and the mu­seum, when it comes to liv­ing with art, we re­treat to works that can rest safely on a wall and not get too much in the way. For gal­lerist Sarah Hop­kin­son, who runs Hop­kin­son Moss­man in Auck­land with Danae Moss­man, the apart­ment she lives in behind the gallery is an op­por­tu­nity to breach those bar­ri­ers and, in the process, pro­vide an ex­am­ple for clients of how to live with chal­leng­ing con­tem­po­rary art. When Hop­kin­son Moss­man took the lease on its Pu­tiki Street gallery, above a me­chanic in an in­dus­trial block in Grey Lynn, the land­lord of­fered them the option to ex­tend the lease to the whole floor, which meant the gallery could ex­pand should it need to. The gallery wasn’t ready to ex­pand, so they used the space as a stock room and an apart­ment for Hop­kin­son. Made up of a large, open liv­ing area par­tially di­vided by a tem­po­rary wall, and two small bed­rooms, the home

“I’m very aware of not hav­ing a house that seems too taste­ful. Con­tem­po­rary art should be chal­leng­ing.”

has wide win­dows that offer a panoramic view to the har­bour, flood­ing the liv­ing space with light when the sun is low. Along the north-eastern side are two bed­rooms, one of which leads to a stock room and then the gallery. Hop­kin­son added the in­dus­trial kitchen – the stain­less-steel benches and plas­tic crates sourced from a hos­pi­tal­ity whole­saler, and a pow­der-coated zinc-ox­ide kitchen is­land from fash­ion de­signer Liz Wil­son, who used it as a counter at her former shop, Eugénie, in Pon­sonby. It feels sparse, but not min­i­mal. There’s one couch, a cir­cu­lar din­ing table and chairs, a collection of plants in a cor­ner, as if in a glasshouse. There’s al­most nothing dec­o­ra­tive. Other than art. “I like nice fur­ni­ture, sure, but it’s just not a pri­or­ity for me,” says Hop­kin­son. “If I think about what I find most sat­is­fy­ing to live with, it’s al­ways con­tem­po­rary art. I’m very aware of not hav­ing a house that seems too taste­ful. Con­tem­po­rary art should be chal­leng­ing. If it isn’t, why wouldn’t you just spend that money on de­sign?” And there’s art ev­ery­where, mostly by artists rep­re­sented by the gallery, and much of it bor­rowed from the stock room and swapped around when the mood strikes. Right now in the stair­well to the exit are five large Peter Robin­son felt sticks that are nearly two floors tall. By the en­trance is an im­pos­ingly heavy sculp­ture by Fiona Con­nor, a faith­ful fac­sim­ile of a no­tice­board from Sil­ver Lake Park in Con­nor’s adopted home of Los An­ge­les. It looks freshly ripped from the ground. Near the kitchen is a table with a thick hand-latch-hooked rug by Ruth Buchanan, a ref­er­ence to a mu­ral Le Cor­bus­ier painted in Eileen Gray’s house with­out her con­sent. Nearly ev­ery­thing in the apart­ment is large, colour­ful and ex­pres­sive. “Be­cause it’s so open, you can’t re­ally put small things in here. Or you can put very, very small things or very, very big things. But if there’s con­tem­po­rary art on the wall, you don’t re­ally need much else,” says Hop­kin­son.

The most prom­i­nent ar­chi­tec­tural ad­di­tion to the space is the zigzag wall, which Hop­kin­son designed, tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from 1990s post-mod­ernism and Mem­phis Group de­sign. While it serves to con­tain the kitchen area, it feels more sculp­tural than func­tional. The wall sits op­po­site a chain cur­tain called ‘Split, Splits, Split­ting’ (2006) by Ruth Buchanan, from an ex­hi­bi­tion at Welling­ton’s Adam Art Gallery. “Ruth’s work is very much about the body and how it ne­go­ti­ates space,” says Hop­kin­son. “She makes work where you brush up against things. At the Adam, you walked through this piece. Ev­ery­one who walks in touches it – it’s an in­dus­trial material, there’s nothing frag­ile about it.” The cur­tain also acts as a room di­vider and light fil­ter. When the sun shines in and hits the chains di­rectly, the cur­tain ap­pears solid if your back is to the light. Viewed from the other side, it looks trans­par­ent, al­most dis­ap­pear­ing com­pletely, other than the speck­led light it projects onto the floor and walls. The house is filled with sculp­tural works that, like Buchanan’s mesh cur­tain, im­pose them­selves on the space and trans­form the apart­ment. Hop­kin­son gets to know work in ways you don’t in a gallery. After most open­ings, the gallery holds a sup­per for friends, sup­port­ers and clients, turn­ing the apart­ment into a lived-in ex­ten­sion of the gallery. “We think there is value in col­lec­tors seeing art lived with in am­bi­tious ways,” she says. “Con­tem­po­rary art asks you to think about how you live with it. I can in­stall a mas­sive work here – in­sti­tu­tional-scale pieces. I’m su­per-lucky – I have a stock room just there,” she says, point­ing to­wards the door to the gallery. “So if, on a Sun­day, I feel like re­hang­ing, I re­hang.”

Left The piece behind Sarah Hop­kin­son and her dog Bones is ‘With Re­spect to Re­al­ity’ (2017) by Milli Jan­nides. Hop­kin­son sits on an ‘Osso’ chair by Ro­nan and Er­wan Bouroul­lec for Mat­ti­azzi from Si­mon James. The grey chair is ‘Frame’ by Wouter Scheublin for Es­tab­lished & Sons from Si­mon James.

Above The art­work to the left of the door is ‘Com­part­men­tal Paint­ing Pavil­ion’ (2008) by Diena Ge­or­getti. Through the door is Bill Cul­bert’s ‘Strait (Manukau) 6’ (2015).

Left The light­boxes are ‘Fass­binder Fass­binder’ (2012) by Tahi Moore.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.