The Dominion Post
Pair hope to shatter modern art myths
Two young, ambitious artists have broken a window to start a conversation – as part of an exhibition inside a deliberately empty gallery space.
But the artists insist the empty space at Enjoy Public Art Gallery on Cuba St is not laziness.
Through their exhibition – Heart of Glass– Isabella Dampney and Theo Macdonald are aiming to tap into an ongoing conversation about contemporary art in New Zealand media.
‘‘New Zealand has a very specific relationship with publicly funded artworks that cause media uproar,’’ Macdonald says.
Controversial, contemporary artworks can often be seen as a massive waste of public money, for what is seemingly a stupid act, activity, or product, Dampney adds.
‘‘It’s seen as redundant.’’ The artist says breaking the window could be seen as redundant in this way, but that’s exactly what the exhibition is about – starting a conversation about what art means.
Contemporary art can be difficult to understand without education or context. It seems silly to some, but there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface, especially for the art community, Dampney says.
The exhibition takes its name from Blondie’s 1979 hit single Heart of Glass.
‘‘One of the hardest things about choosing to make contemporary art is the knowledge that your work will never be as widely distributed as Debbie Harry’s. What we do takes a lot of effort for very little return.’’
As part of the project, the Auckland artists, who are also musicians, have recorded their own ambient cover of the original song.
They reflect on the 1970s era of disco, new wave and rock ‘n’ roll music to connect to a bygone radio era.
Curator Sophie Davis says the exhibition puts an emphasis on conversation instead of being confined within the gallery space.
‘‘Bella and Theo are playfully thinking about how people relate to and understand contemporary art – which tends to be viewed with a certain kind of humour or even suspicion – compared with, say, pop music.’’
Viewers can take part in the exhibition and occupy the empty space with conversation about the broken window.
❚ Heart of Glassis open at Enjoy Public Art Gallery until April 7.