The Dominion Post

Pair hope to shatter modern art myths

- LOUIS DAVIS

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.

 ?? PHOTO: XANDER DIXON/ENJOY PUBLIC ART GALLERY ?? Artists Theo Macdonald and Isabella Dampney want to tap into an ongoing conversati­on about art in New Zealand.
PHOTO: XANDER DIXON/ENJOY PUBLIC ART GALLERY Artists Theo Macdonald and Isabella Dampney want to tap into an ongoing conversati­on about art in New Zealand.

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